Skip to main content

Full text of "The German classics; masterpieces of German literature, tr. into English"

See other formats


CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




GOLDWIN SMITH 
HALL 

FROM THE FUND GIVEN BY 

GOLDWIN SMITH 

1909 



PT 1 1 1 3.F82 ""' """'"'*^ """^ 
v.ir 



^*^mlSSl?!,?" "^'^ss'cs; masterpieces of Germ 




3 1924 014 309 342 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/cletails/cu31924014309342 



VOLUME XVII 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 
HERMANN SUDEPMANN 

GUSTAV FRENSSEN 

WILHELM VON POLENZ 

LUDWIG FULDA 

HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 






OF 

Ci)e mnettcmb and 
Ctoentietf) Centuries 



Masterpieces of German Literature 



TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH 



Editor-in-Chief 
KUNO FRANCKE, Ph.D., LL.D., Litt.D. 

Professor of the History of German Culture, Emeritus, and 

Honorary Curator of the Germanic Museum, 

Harvard University 



Assistant Editor-in-Chief 
WILLIAM GUILD HOWARD, A.M. 

Professor of German, Harvard University 



Jin Qltuptttg HolumpH JUuatrateb 



ALBANY, N. Y. \ 

J. B. LYON COMPANY 
PUBLISHERS 



Copyright 1914 



CONTRIBUTORS AND TRANSLATORS 

VOLUME XVII 



Special Writers 

Robert M. Weenaer, Ph.D., Author of Romcmticism and the Romantic School 
i» Germany: 

Ernst von Wildenbruch. 
M. Blakemobe Evans, Ph.D., Professor of German, Ohio State University: 

Hermann Sudermann. 
H. CONEAD BlBBWiHTH, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Grerman, Harvard Uni- 
versity : 
Gustav Frenssen. 
Edmund Von Mach, Ph.D.: 
Wilhelm von Polenz. 
Rudolf Tombo, Jb., Ph.D., Late Associate Professor of Germanic Languages 
and Literatures, Columbia University : 
Ludwig Fulda. 
Philipp Seibeeth, A.m., Assistant Professor of German, Washington Uni- 
versity : 

Hugo von Hofmannsthal. 

Translators 

Robert M. Weenaer, Ph.D., Author of Romanticism and the Romantic School 
in Qermwny: 
King Henry. 
Edmund Von Mach, Ph.D.; 

Farmer Buttner. 
E. L. Townsend, A.m., Assistant Professor of German, Trinity College, Dur- 
ham, N. C: 
Tete-A-T6te. 
John Heard, Jr.: 

Death and the Fool; The Death of Titian. 
Chables WtHABTON Stork, Ph.D., Instructor in English, University of Penn- 
sylvania: 

To Adolf Wilbrandt on His Seventieth Anniversary ; To Eduard Morike ; 
Epistle to Paul Heyse; Humor; Interdependence; On Mutability; 
Travel Song. 
Beatrice Marshall: 

John the Baptist. 
Mart Agnes Hamilton: 
The Life of Jesus. 
Muriel Almon: 

Noble Blood. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME XVII 

Ernst von Wildenbruch page 

Ernst von Wildenbruch. By Robert M. Wernaer ^ 

King Henry. Translated by Robert M. Wernaer 10 

Noble Blood. Translated by Muriel Almon 126 

Hermann Sudermann 

X 
Hermann Sudermann. By M. Blakemore Evans 154 

John the Baptist. Translated by Beatrice Marshall 169 

Gustav Frenssen 

Gustav Frenssen. By H. Conrad Bierwirth 250 

The Life of Jesus. Translated by Mary Agnes Hamilton 261 

Wilhelm von Polenz 

Wilhelm von Polenz. By Edmund von Mach 334 

Farmer Biittner. Translated and Abridged by Edmund von Mach 341 

Ludwig Fulda 

Ludwig Fulda. By Rudolf Tombo, Jr^. 434 

T6te-A-T6te. Translated by E. L. Townsend 440 

To Adolf Wilbrandt on his Seventieth Anniversary. Translated by 

Charles Wharton Stork 470 

To Eduard Morike. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 471 

Epistle to Paul Heyse. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 471 

Humor. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 480 

Hugo von Hofmannsthal 

Hugo von Hofmannsthal. By Philipp Seiberth. . . .' 482 

Death and the Fool. Translated by John Heard, Jr 492 

The Death of Titian. Translated by John Heard, Jr 611 

On Mutability. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 526 

Interdependence. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 526 

Travel Song. Translated by Charles Wharton Stork 627 



ILLUSTRATIONS— VOLUME XVII 

Vita Somnium Breve. By Arnold Bocklin Frontispiece 

Ernst von Wildenbruch 4 

The Sutler Woman. By Wilhelm von Diez 24 

The Escape. By Wilhelm von Diez 44 

Suffer the Children to Come Unto Me. By Fritz von Uhde 74 

The Sermon on the Mount. By Fritz von Xlhde 104 

The Last Supper. By Fritz von Uhde 134 

Hermann Sudermann 156 

The Marriage Feast at Cana. By Eduard von Gebhardt 174 

Christ and the Adulteress. By Eduard von Gebhardt 194 

Christ and Nicodemus. By Eduard von Gebhardt 214 

The Sermon on the Mount. By Eduard von Gebhardt 234 

Gustav Frenssen 254 

Christ Wandering through the Lands. By Eduard von Gebhardt 274 

Christ and the Rich Youth. By Eduard von Gebhardt 294 

The Last Supper. By Eduard von Gebhardt 314 

Wilhelm von Polenz 336 

Woman with Goats. By Max Liebermann 354 

Guarding the Cattle. By Max Liebermann 394 

Paradise Lost. By Ludwig von Hof mann ,.. . 422 

Ludwig Fulda 438 

Spring Storm. By Ludwig von Hof mann 470 

Hugo von Hofmannsthal 484 

Paradise. Ludwig von Hofmann 512 



EDITOR'S NOTE 

With this volume begin the selections from contemporary 
German literature. An attempt has been made to select 
as great a variety of characteristic types as possible. Con- 
sequently, none of the remaining four volumes will be domi- 
nated by a particular school or group of authors, although 
Wildenbruch and Sudermann predominate in volume XVII, 
Gerhart Hauptmann in volume XVIII. Volume XIX 
brings dramatists subsequent to Hauptmann, volume XX 
various representatives of the contemporary Short Story. 

In the illustrations, also, these last four volumes attempt 
to give an impression of the great variety of tendencies, 
often conflicting with each other, in contemporary German 
painting, so as to show once more the parallelism in the 
development of literature and art brought out in this whole 
collection. 

KuNO Fbancke. 




THE LIFE OF ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 

By Robert M. Wernaee, Ph.D. 

Author of Riymanticism and the Romantic School in Germany 

[Y an accident of fate, this ardent patriot, 
who has been called the faithful Eckhardt 
of the German people, was bom far away 
from his fatherland, February 3, 1845, at 
Beyrout, in Syria, the son of the German 
Consul General, About six years of his 
early childhood were spent in foreign 
countries. At the age of two, he was taken from Beyrout 
to Berlin ; but soon, in his fifth year, his father having been 
appointed ambassador to Greece and, later on, to Turkey, 
he moved with his parents to Athens and, not long there- 
after, to Constantinople. From Constantinople he did not 
return to Germany till 1857. 

True to traditions, as a son of a German " von " family, 
be prepared himself for the military career. He studied at 
the cadet school, at Potsdam, and, in due course of time, at 
the age of eighteen, became a lieutenant in the German 
army. Soon, however, he took his leave, prepared himself 
for the university, and studied law in Berlin. Twice his 
studies were interrupted by a call to arms. He joined the 
aolors in 1866, in the war with Austria ; and in 1870, in the 
Franco-Prussian war. Continuing his studies, he became 
an assessor, and served a short time as municipal judge in 
Eberswalde and Berlin. In 1877, he entered the diplomatic 
service, and, after occupying several minor positions in the 
Grerman Foreign Office, advanced to the rank of a councillor 
>f the legation in 1888 and a privy councillor in 1897. In 



2 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

of poetic enthusiasm, with an appeal to the patriotism of his 
people, with democratic sympathy for all classes, who was 
rewarded with phenomenal theatrical success, and acknowl- 
edged a champion of the true in art and life; yet who 
left behind him no deep imprints. Why did the rivulets of 
his several literary works not gather into some sort of run- 
ning stream? Why, surrounded by fomenting literary 
movements, did he belong organically to none of them? 
Why, exalted by friends, admirers, apologists, had he no fol- 
lowers? Why did he, why does he, stand a figure apart, so 
little related to the dramatists of our own day? 

There can be little doubt that highest motives quickened 
his work. He was in solemn earnest about it. He wanted to 
do something large; to raise the literature of his country; 
to leave behind something of permanent value. ' ' My aim 
is," he wrote in 1882, " to win back for the German people 
a genuinely great dramatic art." Thus, while to the eye of 
the world he was a municipal judge and, later on, in the 
German Foreign Service, climbing the diplomatic ladder, he 
was, as a matter of fact, writing dramas, known only to a 
few understanding friends, with the high aim of raising the 
tone of the literature of his own day. Certainly a more 
arduous, more self-sacrificing task. " My soul," he wrote 
in a letter to his friend Berthold Litzmann, dated December 
31, 1881, * ' was like a deep weU, dark but for one stray glim- 
mer of light shimmering at the bottom; to this one ray I 
have clung amidst bitterest pain, — it was faith * * * 
faith in a wise, ordering Providence." And no one knows 
quite as much the bitterness of that pain as the playwright 
himself, working in secret, unrecognized by the world, for 
the elevation of the dramatic literature of his country. 

But, after all, he was more fortunate than he might have 
been. After ten years of patient labor, his first play. The 
Carlovingians, was accepted, and played, first in Meiningen, 
later in Berlin, with a success so phenomenal that his 
friends have not ceased speaking of it even to this very day. 
Other plays, already in manuscript, The Mennonite, Harold, 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 3 

and Fathers and Sons, soon followed. Elated by this suc- 
cess his mission shaped itself more clearly. " I aspire to 
be no more than the man who, pressing onward in the midst 
of darkness, calls upon the German people : * Follow me, 
— darkness is succeeded by light.' " 

The greater number of his dramas are historical, dealing 
with a variety of subjects. The Carlovingians (1881) gives 
us a picture of the strife between the three sons of Louis 
the Pious, over the partition of the empire, due to the claims 
of Charles, son of Louis' second wife. The two dramas, 
The Mennonite and Fathers and Sons, deal with dramatic 
conflicts which arose during the war of liberation of 1813. 
In Harold (1882) the scene is laid in England, at the time 
of the Norman Conquest. The Quitsows (1888), The Com- 
mander-in-Chief (1889), and The New Ruler (1891), and 
A Stormy Night (1898), deal with episodes in the history 
of Brandenburg and Prussia. These have been called the 
Hohensollern dramas. The Boy of Hennersdorf (1895) and 
the one-act play. Miss Evergreen (1896) may also be in- 
cluded in this particular class. The Duke of Verona (1887) 
has for its background the bloody conflict which, at the end 
of the thirteenth century, raged between the factions of 
the Guelfs and Ghibellines. King Luurin (1902) goes back 
to the gray days of Amalasuntha, daughter of Theodoric 
the Great, king of the Eastern Goths. Erasmus' Daughter 
(1900) shows us pictures of the great conflict during the 
first decade of the German Reformation. Willehaim (1897) 
is an allegory celebrating the rebirth of Germany following 
the victory of 1870. The New Law (1896) and Henry IV. 
of Germany (1896), this latter probably Wildenbruch's most 
important play, deal with that momentous conflict in the 
history of Germany in which Henry IV. and Pope Gregory 
VII. were the chief figures. The German King (1909) leads 

1 1_ J.. TT X 1 _i? ;_ l.*_J. J-T- - J!-! J_ _J? 



4 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

erating an imprisoned literature, containing genuinely 
poetic passages, powerful dramatic episodes, and fresh, in- 
vigorating breezes of a temperament seeking emancipation 
from the commonplaces of life — why did Wildenbrucli not 
become a forerunner of a literature thus liberated? Per- 
sonalities and literary and social movements are complex, 
and many threads enter into the fabric of Wildenbruch and 
his time. Some threads we can unravel, however. We know 
that when Wildenbruch began his literary career, new, rev- 
olutionary forces were changing the whole mental complex- 
ion of the age. Whether it was Darwin and his theory of 
evolution that gave the impulse, or the age that made Dar- 
win, matters little; we know that thinkers, artists, poets, 
dramatists turned from an age that seemed to them older 
and grayer the longer they looked at it to a newer and 
fresher age, developing before their eyes, in which they 
themselves could be the moving forces. They were in re- 
volt against the traditions of the past, eager for the throb- 
bing life of their own day. But where was Wildenbruch? 
Not static: also revolutionary. For we must remember 
that he did not go into the past to recover facts of history 
— we know how shockingly he mangled them; but to reviv- 
ify his own age, petty, sleeping with imaccountable indif^ 
ference on the glories of 1870; to revivify it with the ideals 
of a former, worthier, nobler past. For these ideals he 
fought as militantly as ever any of the younger generations 
for their principles. It was not so much past and present 
that separated them as ideals and every-day mediocrity. 

Few things pained him so much as the accusation of being 
aHofdichter, court poet; for it tended to undermine the 
serious aim he had set himself as a dramatist. It can easily 
be disproved by a perusal of his works, apart from any 
words he may have said in his own defense. There are 
kings and princes and liigh aristocrats in his dramas, and 
honored sons of the Hohenzollem ancestry; on the other 
hand, the plain people are also on the stage, plain people of 
all classes, treated with the same understanding sympathy. 




ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 5 

Numerous instances could be cited. What more alluringly 
charming portrait of a man of the common people could be 
drawn than that of the poor smithy in The Quitsows! Bear- 
ing in mind that von Wildenbruch himself was related to 
Frederic William II. of Prussia, he is deserving no little 
praise for the manner in which he was able to emancipate 
himself from the shackles of aristocratic environment. He 
was a democrat in the best sense of the word. Two of his 
plays, The Boy of Hennersdorf and Miss Evergreen, which 
he called Folk Plays, are refreshingly close to the hearts 
of the plain people. In The Quitsows one brother fights 
another in defense of the rights of the people. In The New 
Law we see an aristocrat on his knees before a burgher, be- 
cause he had. found in this plain man of the people that 
true nobility, higher than birth, the nobility of manhood and 
character. In The New Ruler the progress of the action 
turns largely upon the vindication of the people's rights as 
against those of the nobles. Also as a man among men, 
Wildenbruch was a democrat, the best evidence of which is 
perhaps the dedication of his drama Master Balzer to his 
friend Adolf Balzer, a plain watchmaker of Frankfurt. 
This is the last stanza : 

" Deep-veiled lover of the Muses, — unknown, 
In humble lowliness disguised, — you are 
My friend ! This may I tell today, may own 
With joy to all the world ! My friend you are ! " 

We must also read Leaves from the Tree of Life, a collec- 
tion of essays and articles posthumously published by his 
widow, Maria von Wildenbruch, and Berthold Litzmann, to 
do Wildenbruch full justice as a democrat. 

We wish WUdenbruch had continued to fight for his 
ideals, though they lay in the past; continued to make ef- 
forts to instill them into his own age; continued to write 
" vitalized " idealistic plays, with a more perfect technique, 
more masterful grasp of abiding human traits. For then 
lie might possibly have become a leader — not indeed for 



6 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

his own generation: Ibsen for the world, Hauptmann f or 
Germany, became the leaders,— but for our own generation, 
or that to come. For Hauptmann 's services are coming 
to an end, the best fruits of the art of naturalistic contem- 
porary life have been gathered. What next ? Who is going 
to be the coming leader? It might have been a Wilden- 
bruch. But the Call of the Modem came upon him, of the 
Modern with the tottering threads of ephemeralism that 
hang about it. The new leader will be the one able to solve 
the riddle of infusing lasting hirnaan ideals into the minds 
of the masses weighed down with the commonplaces of con- 
temporary life. It was a sorry day when Wildenbruch 
made up his mind to yield to the Call of the Modem, For 
on that day, he, the man that stood between the past and 
the present, lost his message. He had nothing more to give. 
Wholly, indeed, he did not embrace the new — we are glad 
— yet the old had ceased speaking to him with the former 
solemn voice of command. 

The number of works founded on contemporary life is 
considerable. Sacrifice for Sacrifice (1883) ; The Crested 
Lark (1891); and Master Balser (1893), two really good 
plays, which deal with social questions, and link themselves 
closer to the tendencies of the present day than any of his 
other dramas; The Immortal Felix (1904), a farce-comedy. 
Also a number of stories. Among these The Saint, The 
Miracle, most of his humorous stories published under the 
title, The Land of Laughter; the novels The Astronomer, 
Hasty Love, The Wandering Light, The Other Mama, and 
others. His most popular stories are Nohle Blood and the 
two stories published under the title. The Sorrows of Child- 
hood, by which Wildenbruch will long be remembered. 

While, therefore, we may say that Wildenbruch 's isola- 
tion is due to the fact that he was unable to adjust himself 
to the new forces of a new age, there is another chief reason 
why he failed to become a leader. It has to do with his 
dramatic technique. It makes little difference which of 
his dramas we may select, in almost every one we shall find 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 7 

an interesting, effective exposition. For this reason he has 
been called the dramatist of the first act. He has a magic 
power of presenting a line of action in which difficulties 
arise which we like to see solved. A suspense is created. 
This may go through a second and part of a third act. 
Then something new sets in, new material is introduced, 
which interferes seriously with the straight line of the 
action. The drama begins to "bulge out in the middle. The 
individual threads of the composition become looser. We 
pass through a series of episodes, generally executed with 
dramatic power, and nearly always effective on the stage, 
but not closely woven into unity. At the end, we find our- 
selves the recipients of two, sometimes three, actions instead 
of one. Two chief defects stand out — one of structure, 
the other of characterization. The structural defects, he 
might have learned from Heinrich von Kleist, who was one 
of his favorite authors ; or from the historical dramas of 
Shakespeare, which are likewise structurally faulty. The 
analytic faculty of building the dramatic structure as an 
architect builds his masses is, indeed, one of the rarest gifts 
found among the world's dramatists. The second defect, 
that of characterization, is one not uncommon to writers, 
who, not able to create a powerful action by depth, that is 
by means of the characters themselves, make up for the 
deficiency by the invention of new episodes spread over a 
wide surface. External incidents rather than inner forces 
govern the action. Wildenbruch never succeeded entirely 
in freeing himself from it. On this account some writers 
have denied him dramatic talent altogether. Therein they 
err. An ideal drama calls for a variety of gifts — the 
invention of story, the logical structure, characterization, 
creation of incidents, dialogue. Characterization alone, 
however important, is not the only mark of dramatic genius. 
For must not the story-teller possess this gift also? Wil- 
denbruch had the special genius of creating dramatic inci- 
dents. To this he owed his success. To this gift, which, 
unaccompanied by other qualities, would have made him 



8 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

merely a writer of melodramas, associated itself serious- 
ness of imrpose, patriotic fervor, an attachment to the ideal, 
and a love for man. Through these qualities he was able 
to outdistance the melodramatist, and to win for himself 
an enviable position among the German dramatists of the 
nineteenth century. But a new school could never have 
been founded on this technique. 

Nearly all of Wildenbruch 's historical dramas are writ- 
ten in verse, chiefly in pentameter meter. A very free 
meter, lyrical in cha.raxiter, occars in The Songs of Euripides 
(1909). His plays which deal with contemporary life are 
in prose; also his HohenzoUem dramas, with the exception 
of The Commander-in-Chief and The New Ruler, in which 
he uses a four-stressed meter with unfortunate results. 
Henry IV. of Germany is in prose. 

Wildenbruch deserves to be mentioned among the poets. 
Not only because of his lyrics .and ballads, Songs and Lyrics 
(1877), Songs and Ballads (1887), Last Poems (1909) ; but 
because of the poetry in many of his dramas. Often one 
regrets not to be able to take these poetic passages out of 
their fixed places in the dramatic composition, and to 
replace them by prose, for the peculiar style, the onward, 
hasty rush of action, the display of passion immediately 
translated into deeds, is not suited to lyrical passages. 
Often his poetry sounds hollow. 

It was a wise choice which induced Wildenbruch to cast 
the highly dramatic subject matter of Hevnrich und Hein- 
rich's Geschlecht, which rather unfortunate title I have 
translated Henry IV. of Germany, in prose form. He him- 
self divided the drama into two parts, King Henry, which 
has a prologue, and Emperor Henry. It may also be called 
a trilogy, entitled respectively Child Henry (the Prologue 
of the play), King Henry, and Emperor Henry. The first 
two parts of this trilogy make a dramatic work of high 
order. It has greater unity and cohesion than any of his 
other historical dramas. The story itself has momentous 
historical significance. The action at times brilliant, pro- 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH ' 9 

eeeds organically to an inevitable end. "WTxether he lias 
been altogether faithful to history, we care not. The chief 
characters live and move, in the main, as independent, self- 
acting beings. There are lapses of motivation, as there are 
in all of Wildenbruch's dramas, but they obtrude less in 
this. The situations create suspense throughout. The 
dialogue is forceful, natural, direct. It is a work that has 
qualities of permanency; and makes one deplore the pecu- 
liar conditions, psychological and social, which stood hin- 
deringly in the way of the author's stable, maturing growth. 
Placing this work by the side of the choicest of his other 
works, dramatic, lyric, epic, we feel justified in saying that 
although Wildenbruch was not great, he, nevertheless, pos- 
sessed ingredients of that precious amalgam that goes into 
the making of great men. The third part of the trilogy 
of Henry IV. of Germany, though it contains excellent dra- 
matic material, is, in the main, inferior to the two parts 
given here in translation. Ernst von Wildenbruch died 
January 15, 1909. In 1912 a national committee was 
formed, and an appeal made to the German people for a 
monument to be erected in his memory at Weimar. 



ERNST VON WILDENBRUCH 



KING HENRY* 

A Drama in Four Acts with a Pkologue 
(First Part of Henry IV of Germany.) 

TRANSLATED BY ROBERT M. WERNAER, PH.D. 
Author of Romanticism and the Romantic School in Germanp 

PERSONS OF THE PROLOGUE 

Agnes, wife of Emperor Henry III of Oermany 

Henry, her son (ten years old) 

Countess Abexheid von Piemont 

Bebtha, her young daughter 

Pbaseois, still a child 

Count Otto von Nobdheim 

„ } of the Billung family „ ,, , , 

Hermann J ^ i ir ySaaion Nobles 

ECKBERT VON MEISSEN 
UDO VON DER NORDMARK 

Anno, Archbishop of Cologne 

HiLDEBRAND, Arohdeocon of Rome 

Hugo, Abbot of Clugny 

Rapoto, crossbow bearer of Emperor Benry III 

Place of the Prologue — Ooslar 



* Permiasion 6. Grote, Berlin. 

[10] 



PROLOGUE 



CHILD HENRY 

In the Palace at Goslar. A garden, not over-rich in appointments, rather 
simple; fir trees and fir underbrush. At the back, a series of steps lead 
to the entrance of the imperial palace, the walls of which occupy the 
whole background. 

Rapoto, an old man with long, wavy, gray hair and beard, is seated on 
a grassy mov/nd in the centre of the foreground. Crossbows lie about 
him, which he is engaged in stringing. He works in this way for a time 



A Voice {from the left, behind the scene). Rapoto! 

Rapoto {to himself, continuing his work). Don't shout like 
this! 

A Voice {as before). Rapoto! 

Rapoto. Pool! [Continues working.'] 

A Voice {as before). Rapoto! 

Rapoto {jumping up, turning to the left). Idiot! Why do 
you keep calling? Don't you see I have my hands full? 

A Voice {as before). The Emperor is going on the hunt. 
They are waiting for you to get things ready. 

Rapoto. The Emperor? On the hunt? Was it not said 
this morning that he was not going? 

A Voice {as before). Plans have been changed; he's 
going. They are waiting for you. Hurry up ! 

Rapoto. Hurry up? — Don't you see that I'm busy with 
these crossbows? I've to string them, all of them, be- 
cause the huntsmen took horn crossbows from the 
armory. In September! Don't they know that steel 
crossbows are needed in autumn? [He seats himself 
and continues his labor.] Did I come into this world, 
I, a free-bom Frank, to tell these Saxon dullards what 
to do? — Emperor, you're a mighty lord, you've 

111] 



12 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

seated four popes, you're as wise as King Solomon, 
and as strong as Saint Michael with the fiery sword j 
— but there is one thing I can't understand, why do 
you keep on coming to Goslar, to these rough Harz 
Mountains? Do you not own land on the banks of the 
Rhine and the Main? Isn't it pleasanter to live among 
free-born Franks than here among false-hearted Sax- 
ons? Your throne is too high — you can't see the 
eagles about you — nor the moles at your feet. [Stamps 
on the ground.] Who am I, that I should thus speak to 
you ? I 'm your faithful crossbow bearer. I know these 
wild hogs, these agitators and fighters [shaking his 
fisf], 1 know these Saxons, these — 

Voice of a Boy {from the right, behind the scene). Rapoto, 
ho ! Rapoto, ho ! 

Rapoto {jumps excitedly from the ground, turns to the 
right, and stretches out both of his arms). My dear 
King! 

Enter King Henry, a boy of ten. He comes running from the right, 
dressed in white, ornamented with red and gold embroidery; his long, 
brown hair is confined by a gold band; he carries a small spear. 

Henby. Let me show you how I can shoot, Rapoto ! [He 
hastens to the left.] Do you see that birch tree behind 
the two firs? Straight through the firs I'll hit it! 
[Hurling the spear.] There! 

Rapoto {whose eyes have followed the throw). The birch, 
split right through the centre! [Falls ecstatically on 
his knees before the boy.] My dear King, my sun, my 
moon, my star, — what do you wish Rapoto shall do 
for you? Do you wish to take a ride on my back? 
Shall I be your horse? 

Henry. You always want to play with me — I want to go 
on the hunt, and you must take me with you. 

Rapoto. If I had my wish, my dear King, I'd take you 
hunting from morning till night. But I can't take you. 

Heney {stamping on the ground). I will go with you! I 



KING HENRY 13 

will! You must take me! [He seises Rapoto bi/ the 

hair and pulls him.] 
Rapoto. Christ and his saints — how you pain an old man 

like me ! 
Henby (withdrawing his hands quickly from the old man's 

head). Did I — did I pain you? 
Rapoto. What do you think — pulling my hair like this? 
Henby. I'll give you something, Rapoto. [He puts his 

hand in the embroidered purse which hangs from his 

belt.] Oh, it's empty! 
Rapoto (exploring with Henby the empty purse). Where 

is it gone to? 
Henby (thinking). Wait a moment — yes — a little while 

ago, in front of the palace, there were some blind 

men — 
Rapoto. And you gave it to them? [Kisses the boy's 

hands.] My dear King, had you torn off all my hair, 

and my beard too, I would not be angry with you ! 
Henby (embracing the old man). I love you, Rapoto — do 

you love me too? 
Rapoto. Yes, my dear King, I love you. 
Henby (lost in thought). Rapoto — does my father love 

me? 
Hapoto. Why this ques.tion? Of course, he loves you. 
Henby. Yes, I know my father loves me. [There is a 

pause.] Rapoto — does my mother love me? 
Rapoto. Why shouldn't she love you? 
Henby. Not as much as my father — does she? 
Rapoto. Why not? 
Henby. When my father sees me, he laughs, and kisses 

me ; but my mother does only this — [He makes, in 

solemn fashion, the sign of the cross on Rapoto 's 

forehead.] 
Rapoto. She blesses you with the sign of the holy cross. 

Isn't this a good thing to do? 
Henby, She is always so stem. Isn't it true, Rapoto, that 

it is my mother that forbade you to take me with you 

on the hunt? 



14 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Rapoto. Since you ask me — yes. 

Henby (tears himself away from the old man, stamps on 

the ground, and threatens with clenched fists toward 

the left). Do you see that ! See that! See that! 
Rapoto (rising). For God's sake, my dear King, whom are 

you threatening with your clenched fists? Not your 

mother, surely? 
Heney (throws himself into the arms of the old man). 

Rapoto, I'll never do it again — you'll tell no one, 

Rapoto, no one! 
Rapoto. No one shall hear it. 
Henry. You care for me again, Rapoto? 
Rapoto. I was never angry with you. 

[Both seat themselves; the hoy clings affectionately 
to the old man.] 
Henry. Say, Rapoto, do again what you did a little while 

ago; it looked so comical. 
Rapoto. A little while ago? What was it I did? 
Henry. That's what you did [making a threatening mo- 
tion with his fist], I know these Saxons — 
Rapoto. Quite right, that's what I said. 
Henry (clings to the old man — laughing). Is it true that 

the Saxons are hogs? 
Rapoto. Hogs — why that? 
Henry. Because you said, " I know these wild hogs, I 

know these Saxons." 
Rapoto (laughing). Christ and his saints — what ears you 

have! 
Henry. But Uncle Otto is no hog? 
Rapoto. Uncle — Otto? Do you mean — Nordheim? 
Henry. Yes, isn't Uncle Otto a Saxon? 
Rapoto. The only good man among them, for the others 

the — [makes a threatening motion with his fists.] 
Henry (choking with laughter). Do you see see now 

you do again what you did before. 
Rapoto. So I do. May God grant, my dear King, that 

these Saxons never cause you tears when the time 

comes for you to be emperor! 



KING HENEY 15 

Hbnby. Say, Rapoto, does my father know that they are 
so bad? 

Rapoto. He knows it, and holds them under his iron rule, 
his iron fist — 

Henry, Are there people with iron hands? 

Rapoto. Yes, your father has iron hands. That's why the 
Saxons fear him, and hate him. 

Heney (startled). If they hate my father, I'll cut their 
heads off once I am emperor! 

Rapoto. Would serve them right ! 

Henby. Shall I be emperor some day, Rapoto? 

Rapoto. You will be emperor, my dear King, sooner per- 
haps than you may think. I '11 tell you something which 
nobody knows: — your father is not as well as people 
think. 

Henky (startled). No 

Rapoto (quieting him). Be quiet, — don't tell anybody 
about it, — I know what I know. It occurred yesterday 
— when tidings were brought to him of the heathen 
Wends, that a battle had been fought between them 
and Count William von der Nordmark. The Wends, 
these godless Heathens, have conquered, defeated 
Count William in battle, and cut his body to pieces, 
that no one was able to recognize him. When your 
father heard these tidings — I stood by his side when 
it happened — he became deathly pale, as I had never 
seen him before, and broke down like a tree cut by the 
ax. If we had not caught him, he would hav« fallen to 
the ground. And this morning the rumor was, that 
he was going on the hunt, and, then, suddenly it was 
said, that he would not go on the hunt, and then again, 
that he would, after all, go — never has it happened 
as long as I can remember, that your father changed 
his will — three times in one hour. [He takes both 
hands of the boy. There is a pause. The boy nestles 
tremblingly against the old man, who strokes him.] 
How he trembles — [Rapoto rises suddenly, turning 



16 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

to the left.] My dear King, come away! These men 
that are coming — it is better that they do not see you! 
[He takes up the crossbows, and draws the hoy to the 
' rear; the latter follows a few steps, then stops.^i 

Heney. I don't wish to run away. 

Rapoto {standing behind the boy, speaking over his 
shoulder). They are the Saxon Dukes, the worst of 
them all! The two Billingers, Ordulf and Hermann, 
his brother — if you knew these people 

Heney {with pale, trembling lips, and glowing eyes, his 
arms crossed — staring to the right). What sort of 
people are they? 

Rapoto. Those blind men, in front of the palace, to whom 
you gave your money — do you know where they came 
from? From the country of Bremen, to tell the 
Emperor of their misery, because Ordulf, that bloody 
dog, put their eyes out. 

Henry {seises with both hands the arm of the old man). 
Put out — their eyes! 

Rapoto. Therefore I say, come away! [He pulls the boy 
a few steps to the rear.] 

Heney {frees himself again). But — I don't wish to run 
away. 

[Heney, Rapoto standing behind him, stops in the 
rear; Heney sits down, and occupies himself tvith 
the crossbows.] 

Enter Ordulf and Eckbert von Meissen, from the right. 

Oedtjlf. Believe what I tell you, and keep it to yourself, — 

the imperial bull is crippled. 
EcKBEET. But he is going on the hunt. 
Obdulf. Of course, he does not wish any one to find it out. 

The Wends have given him a hot mush to eat on the 

banks of the Elbe ; it will make him choke. 
EcKBEET. Hosanna to the Heathens, if that's true! 
Ordulf. Don't talk so loud! He is still living! If he 

learns what I've told you, he would make me feel his 

horns. 



KING HENRY 17 

Enter Hermann, the Bilhmg, on the right. 

EcKBEKT {meeting him). Have you seen the man from 
Cologne? Was he with the Emperor? 

Hermann. Yes. 

Obdtjlf. And? Is he going on the hunt? 

Hbkmann. He is going, although he sits in his room pale 
as a sheet. 

Okdulf. Who is with him? 

Hermann. Hugo, the Abbot, and Hildebrand, I think. 

EcKBERT {glancing to the right). Hildebrand has left him 
already. 

Hermann. So, Hildebrand is not any more with him. But 
Otto von Nordheim is still with him, so it seems. 

Oedulf {stretching out both of his arms). My friends, my 
brothers — if I think what might — 

Hermann {taking hold of his hand). Ordulf ! [Glancing 
toward the rear.] The boy! 

Ordtjlf {dropping his arms). By thunder — I didn't see 
him! 

Hermann. I just got a glimpse of him. [They are discon- 
certed, and put their heads together.] 

Eckbert. Do you think he he^ird us? 

Ordulf {with a side glance toward Henry). Bah! He's 
too far off, and is playing with the crossbows. 

Hermann {with a like glance). But he has sharp ears. 

Ordulf. What do I care about that boy ! I must tell you 
something I can't put off. [He steps closer to the two 
others.] You've just heard that possibly we may get 
rid of the Emperor. That will be a good thing for us, 
but not all we want. He has a son. We must look out 
that this son does not get the upper hand. The father 
has troubled us long enough. 

Eckbert. That's true. 

Ordulf. The simplest thing would be if we — [He makes 
with his hand the sign of cutting one's head off.] 

Hermann. That would cause too much of a stir. 
Vol. XVII— 2 



18 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Obdulp (laughing). Quite right. But a bull should not 
again be permitted to lord over the empire, trampling 
us under foot. 

EcKBEET. And? — 

Okdulf. And?— What do you think can be done with a 
bull calf that is not to be a bull? 

Heemann. Greld it. 

Oedule. There you have it. 

EcKBBBT. Yes — but — 

Obdulf. Yes, but — yes, but — to be sure he is king: we 
have sworn him allegiance at Aachen, however unwill- 
ingly, forced upon us by the black Henry. If, then, he 
is to be emperor, we will train the boy into a man such 
as we want him to be, one who will dance to our piping. 

Hebmanit. Who will undertake to do this? 

Oedule. Anno, the Archbishop; he will do it. 

Eckbeet. Have you talked with him? 

Oedxjle. Of course, I have ; Anno is our man. As soon as 
the old man has closed his eyes, we'll deliver the boy 
into Anno's hands; he shall take him to Cologne. 
[There is a pause.] Are you agreed to that? 

Eckbeet. Is Otto von Nordheim on our side? 

Oedulf. I don't know, — why? 

Eckbeet. If Otto von Nordheim is not on our side, I'll 
not be a party to this. 

Obdulf. By thunder, why not? 

Eckbeet. Without him, the matter wouldn't have the 
necessary authority in the empire. 

Obdulf. Nonsense, I say! 

Hebmann {taking Obdulf by the hand). Don't talk so loud! 
Let's talk with Nordheim. 

Hbnby {calling suddenly aloud toward the right). Uncle 
Otto! Uncle Otto! 

Heemann {wheeling about). The devil, what's that! 



KING HENRY • 19 

Enter from the right Otto von Nordheim. Rapoto takes up the cross- 
bows, and leaves in the rear. 

Henry (runs up to him, and throws himself into his arms)'. 

Are you also going on the hunt with father, Uncle Otto? 
Otto vok Nordheim {greets the hoy affectionately, and 

strokes his head). My young King, I don't know yet 

whether your father is going. 
EcKBERT. Just see the affection between these two. 
Ordulf. Yes, all they need to do now is to kiss. 
Henry {looking with admiration at the sword of Otto von 

Nordheim). What sword is this that hangs from your 

belt, Uncle Otto? 
Otto von Nordheim. A sword like this you have never 

seen, my young King, have you? 
Henry. Never. 
Otto von Nordheim {taking the sword from the belt). 

Look at it : once upon a time, a great hero wielded this 

sword. It belonged to King Etzel, King of the Huns, 

who conquered nearly the whole world. I received it 

as a present from King Solomon of Hungary. 
Henry {holding the sword in his hands). May I draw it 

out, Uncle Otto? 
Otto von Nordheim. Do as you please. 
Henry {drawing the sword from the scabbard). Oh, look 

at it! 
EcKBERT {to his two friends) . He gives him his own sword 

— these two seem to be great friends. 
Hermann. Don't let that trouble you: I know Nordheim; 

he is somewhat of a bear. The Emperor taught him 

how to dance, but, as a matter of fact, he has a wild 

nature. 

[In the meantime the boy is occupying himself in 
making thrusts into the air with the bare sword.] 
Otto von Nordheim {to Henry). If you like it so well, my 

young King, I'll tell you what I'll do. The time is 

not far distant when they will gird you with a sword ; 

on that day I'll give you this sword as a present. 



20 ■ THE GBEMAN CLASSICS 

Henry {throws himself vehemently into the arms of Otto 

voK Noedheim). I love you, Uncle Otto! 
Okdulf. That's more than I can bear. 
Hermann {to Ordtjlp). Be quiet. 
Ordulf {turning to Noedheim; his great cmger, which he 

can suppress only with difficulty, is plainly visible). 

Otto von Nordheim — tell me — doesn't what you've 

just been offering to the young prince at all trouble 

you? 

[Henry stares at Oedtjlp with wide open eyes.] 
Otto von Noedheim. What should trouble me? 
Ordulf. The sword of a godless Heathen — 
Otto von Nordheim. King Solomon, who wore it, is as 

good a Christian as you or I. 
Ordulf. But a Hungarian is no German. 
Otto von Nordheim. What do you mean? 
Ordulf. Mean? Is he not to be the German King some 

day, — this young prince? 
Henry {seising convulsively Otto von Nordheim 's hand). 

Why does this man say, that I am to be king, Uncle 

Otto? Am I not king already? 
Otto von Noedheim. You are that, my young King, and 

that man there knows it perfectly well. 
Ordulf {he looks the boy in the face with a sardonic, brutal 

grin). You're not going to plunge that mighty sword 

of yours into me, are you? I'm almost afraid of you. 
Henry. I — I too have a sword. 
Ordulf. And a mighty one. 
Otto von Noedheim {warningly) . Ordulf — 
Oedulf. Now you have heard it, young King, — my name 

is Ordulf. 
Henry {he withdraws instinctively a step, clinging to Noed- 
heim). Uncle Otto, is — is that — Ordulf? 
Oedulf. Of course, Ordulf — what have you against 

Ordulf? 
Henry {ivith wide staring eyes, pointing his finger at 

Ordulf). He who puts men's eyes out? 



KING HENRY 21 



rdx:lf {roused to great anger). To hell with- 

TTO VON NOEDHEIM. Ordulf — 



ENKY {in a loud voice). Uncle Otto — out there, in front 

of the palace, are many blind men. He, Ordulf, had 

their eyes put out ! 
KDULF. You wretch! You — you — [He makes a motion 

as though to attack the hoy.] 
ENKY {taking hold of the hilt of the sword with both hands, 

he aims the point at Obdulf). I pierce you, if you 

strike me ! 
BDXJLF. Take the sword from the boy, Nordheim! 

[Hermann a/nd Eckbebt approach.] 
EEMANN. How cau you permit this, Nordheim? 
CKBERT. The boy threatening us with the bare sword! 
TTO VON NoBDHEiM {trics to calm Henby). Be quiet, my 

young King — 
ENBY {to Oedulp, the sword still aimed at him). I am 

not afraid of you, you — you — wicked man! 

iter Empress Agnes, followed by Countess Abelheid von Piemont, 
who is leading her daughter Bertha by the hand. Behind these, led by 
a lady of the court, Praxedis, a girl of the age of Henby. They come 
from the right. 

ONES {at the sight of her son, stops in great surprise on 
the right — calling aloud). Henry! 

[Startled, Heney turns his head to the right; seeing 
his mother, he drops the sword slowly.] 
gnes. How did you come by this sword, Henry? 
ENBY. Uncle Otto gave it to me. 

GNES. And you use it to threaten people with? Hand 
the sword back. [Heney looks down in a defiant atti- 
tude. Agnes comes a few steps toward him.] Wilful 
boy, did you not hear me? 

[Heney remains in his defiant attitude without 
moving.] 



22 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

JEnter from the right Archbishop Anno and HiLnEBRAND, the Archdeacon. 
They remain at the entrance. Servants bring seats for the Empress anrl 
her party. 

Agnes. Take your sword back, Count von Nordheim, I 
ask of you. 

Otto von Noedheim {steps to the hoy, and, stroking his 
hair with a smile, takes the sword from him). Don't 
be discouraged, my boy; when you are older, you will 
wield your own sword. 

Agnes. Tell me what happened here? 

Ordulf (with a coarse laugh). I thought you had seen it, 
your Highness. Your son attempted to try King 
Etzel's sword on me. 

Agnes {looks at the hoy, shaking her head). Oh, my child — 
you give me much sorrow ! IShe seats herself a little 
toward the front.'] Forgive him his wrong, Duke 
Ordulf, I beg of you. [To Henby.J And you, Henry, 
go to the Duke, give him your hand, and ask him to 
pardon you. 

[With a toss of his head, Heney takes half a step 
toward Okdulf, without looking at him; he offers 
him his hand reluctantly, drops it again, steps back, 
and shakes his head.] 

Agnes. "Well — are you not going to do it? 

Heney, I cannot, I — 

Agnes. You cannot? 

Heney. I — I will not. 

Agnes. Henry — 

H^N-RY {stamping on the ground). No! No! No! 

Agnes. Wicked boy I 

Henky {pressing hoth his hands to his temples). Don't tell 
me, mother, that I am wicked ! 

Agnes {turning to Anno and Hildebeand). You holy men 
of God, come to me, I beg of you, tell this irreverent 
boy what punishment is awaiting those in the here- 
after who seek to take the life of others, and disobey 
their parents with defiance. 



KING HENRY 23 

[enky. I am not irreverent I [He rushes in despair, with 
open arms, toward his mother, and embraces her con- 
vulsively/.] Mother, be good to me ! Mother, be good 
to me! 

.ONES (frees herself from the embrace of the boy) . Leave 
me, you — wicked child. 

[eney {throws himself in despair into the arms of Otto 
VON Noedheim). Uncle Otto — you — you help me! 

>TT0 VON Noedheim. Duke Ordulf, I think it would be 
better if you go now. 

(edxjlf. Do you think so. Count von Nordheim? 

>TT0 VON Noedheim. You see how excited the boy is. 

►edulf. It wasn't I who gave him the sword to play with. 

Ieemann. Of course it wasn't, but let the matter rest 
here. [In a low tone to Oedxjlf.J Come away now; 
what more do you want? 

)bdulf (remains a moment longer lost in angry thought, 
then throws his head back). Very well, let us go. 
[Oedulp, Hbemann, Eckbeet, give a courtly bow to 
the Empress, and leave on the left.] 

LGNES. Count Otto, don't take my son's part against his 
mother. [Otto von Noedheim turns the boy away 
from him. Agnes, in a sudden fury of passion, ad- 
vances toward Heney.J Oh, you are the torment of 
my life!' — 

Ieney (lifting up both of his hands). I have done no 
wrong! Mother, do not strike me! 

[Mother and child face each other a moment in 
silence, then Heney drops his hands, and breaks 
out into tears. There is a pause.] 

Jeetha (advances toward Heney from the rear, placing 
her arm about his neck). Poor Henry — don't weep. 

Ieney (turning toward her). Who are you? 

Vd^l,ti^ejd (advancing) . Don't you know her? Your cousin 
Bertha? She who is to be your wife some day? 

Jeetha (has taken her kerchief from her pocket, and is dry- 
ing his eyes). Come, let me dry your eyes. 



24 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Henry (pushing her hand away). I don't need her ker- 
chief — I've stopped crying. 

Agnes {taking Beetha hy the hand). Let him alone, my 
dear child; he cannot weep, he can only make others 
weep. [Conducting Bektha bach to Adelheid. j Cousin 
Adelheid, God has dealt unjustly between us : He has 
given you a good child. 

Adelheid. My imperial cousin, one must often humble 
one's self before children — do you do this? 

Agnes. Day and night I humble myself before God in 
prayer for him. [Anno and Hildebband in the mean- 
time have approached.] Henry — greet these holy 
men. 

Henry {goes to Anno). I greet you, Bishop Anno of 
Cologne. 

Agnes. Archbishop Anno, give him, please, your hand, 

that he may kiss it. Henry, kiss the archbishop 's hand. 

[Henry bends over Anno's hand.} 

Anno {making the sign of the cross over Henby). Peace 
be with your soul, my young King; me thinks you are 
in need of peace. 

Agnes. Go to the envoy of the holy Pope, Henry; greet 
him, and kiss his hand. 

Henry {goes to Hildebrand). I greet you, — stranger. 

Hildebband {gives him his hand). Don't kiss iny hand, for 
then I cannot see your face. [Henry stares at him.] 
Why do you look at me so strangely? 

Henby. You — you don't look like other men. 

Hildebband. Look at me, and don't forget me ; for we shall 
meet each other again in life. [There is a pause.] 
You wear a regal band about your hair — you are a 
king? 

Henby. Yes, I am a king. 

Hildebrand. Do you know what a king's duties are on this 
earth? 

Henby. Yes, I know them. 

Hildebband. What are they? 




THE SUTLER WOMAN 



WrLHELM VON DlEZ 



KING HENRY 25 

Ebney. To protect helpless people, that evil men may not 

put out their eyes. 
HiLDEBKAND. Ah, that was a regal thought. Now tell me, 

who is it that gives kings strength to perform the duties 

of their ofl&ce, do you know that also? 
Heney (after a little reflection). Kings are strong — 

because they are kings ! 
HiLDEBEAND. Must Mugs uot fcar their God? 
Eeney. Kings need fear no one. 
HiLDEBEAND. No man, — but — do you not fear God? 
Heney. No. iGreat commotion among all present.] 

A.GNES (startled, in a loud voice). Henry! 
Beney (looking with fear at his mother, he turns to Hiij)e- 

beand). Did I commit a sin? 
A.GNES. You ask whether you sinned ? Have you not been 

taught to fear God? 
Eeney (to Hildebeand). I love Him — why then be afraid 

of Him? 
Eildbbeand (places his hand on the boy's head). My young 

King, life is long; you have yet much to learn, so I 

believe. 

[Heney moves to the rear, where Adelheid receives 
him, and speaks to him.] 
A^n:so (in aloud, stern voice). Severe discipline! Stem, 

severe discipline ! 
Agnes (sinks into a chair, folding her hands in her lap). 

Do not blame me for this ! Tell me, archdeacon, you 

come from Eome, the source of eternal truth, are there 

souls foreordained to eternal punishment? 
Hildebeand (by her side). Your question is blasphemy 

against God, who permitted His Son to die that we all 

might live. 
Agnes. You don't know what a comfort your anger is 

to me. 
EIildebeand. I am not here to comfort you, but to quicken 

you. You are troubled about your boy, and perhaps 

with much reason ; but he is your child, and is no worse 

than you are yourself. 



26 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Agnes. We are all sinners, I know that well. 

HiujEBEAND. All might be well with the boy, were he not 
an emperor's son. From his royal ancestors he has 
inherited the overbearing mind quick to do the daring 
deed. You would like to change him by precepts ; but 
precepts are mere words, and words cannot change the 
blood. Change yourself first ! 

Agnes {her bosom heaving). Are all that are crowned 
doomed to perdition? 

HiLDBBEAND {with a smUe) . You would like to hear that 
your husband is excepted? 

Agnes {seises, terror-stricken, with both hands, the hand 
of Hildebeand). Assure me that what you said of the 
others does not apply to him ! 

HiLDEBEAND. And yet it does apply to him. 

Agnes. No ! 

HiLDEBEAND. Yes! — your husband and lord, Emperor 
Henry, is setting defiantly at naught the will of Grod, 
and, therefore, God's hand is upon him. 

Agnes. Is upon him? 

HiLDEBEAND. For God has seen him march, four times, at 
the head of noisy armies, across the Alps, down to 
Rome; has seen him seize, with worldly power, the 
abode of the eternal spirit; has seen him, four times, 
nnseat and seat popes, acts which were not in his power 
to do, as they are not in the power of any one who rules 
only over bodies, not over souls. This shall not happen 
again, no, never! Because the time has come, when 
physical power must yield to the head, when the spirit 
must triumph over the flesh ! 

Rapoto enters from the right. 

HiLDEBEAND {to Agnes). There are tidings from your hus- 
band. 

Agnes {turning to Rapoto). Do you come from the 
Emperor? 

Rapoto. The Emperor sent me to ask whether Count Otto 
von Nordheim wishes to join him on the hunt. 



KING HENEY 27 

TTo VON NoEDHEiM. I am coming ! [He is about to leave 

on the right; Henry runs after him, and clings to him.] 
[eney. Uncle Otto, take me with yon. 
iTTO VON NoKDHEiM. My youug King — I don't know — 

[He looks smilingly over toward the empress.] 
[enky {rushes from Nobdheim to his mother, kneels down, 

and embraces her knees). Mother, let me go with him 

on the hunt ! Mother, please, please, please ! 
lGNes. No. 

[eney. Mother, only this once ! I'll never ask you again ! 
lGnes {turning impatiently from him). I have told you, 

no. Count von Nordheim, the Emperor is awaiting you. 
»TT0 VON NoEDHEiM. Another time, my young King. [He 

leaves on the right, Rapoto follows him.] 
Ieney {he presses both of his fists to his eyes). Oh! 

Oh! Oh! 
LGNES. Cousin Adelheid, bring your daughter to me, 

please. [Adelheid comes with Beetha to the front.] 

And you, Henry, come here, speak to Bertha, and play 

with her. 
Ieney. I — I cannot talk with girls ! I don't wish to play 

with girls! 
LDELHEH) {goes to Heney, and bends smilvngly over him). 

Ah, my young Prince ! A king you are 1 Kings are 

courteous to women. 
Ieney. Is — is that so ? 

Ldelheid {bursts out laughvng). Of course it is. 
Ieney {after severe inner struggle). Then I will be courte- 
ous also. [He goes reluctantly to Bektha, and offers 

her his hand.] There ! 
Ldelheid {to Beetha, who doesn't know what to do). Well, 

my little daughter — Henry is offering you his hand, 

will you not give him yours ? 
Jebtha {clinging to Adelheid) . Henry doesn't care for me. 
Lgnes. Do you hear that, Henry! 
Ieney {goes to Beetha, and seises her hand). Well, then, 

come here. 

[Both children stand side by side way in front.] 



28 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Heney. Is it true that you are to be my wife? 

Agnes. She is betrothed to you before God. It is your 

duty to love her. 
Henby (turns about slowly, Ms eyes fall on Peaxedis, who 

is standmg in the rear). But — that other one I like 

better. 
Agnes {turning her head about). That other one? Of 

whom is he speaking? 
Anno {leading Peaxedis to the front). Of this one, I 

suppose. 
Agnes. This one — 

[Peaxedis has gone to her, and is kneeling before her.] 
Anno. The daughter of Mistevois, the Obotrite. 
Agnes {drawing back with horror). A Heathen! 
Peaxedis {looks boldly into her face). Praxedis is no 

Heathen ! • Praxedis is a Christian ! 
Agnes. A Wend. 
Anno. Count William von der Nordmark, who, some time 

ago, killed her father in battle, made her a prisoner, 

and converted her to Christianity. 
Heney {steps behind Peaxedis, and strokes her hair). I 

like her. 
Peaxedis {turns her head toward him, looks at him smil- 
ingly, then jumps up). 1 like you, too. [She offers 

him both of her hands.] 
Agnes. Let go the hand of the Wendish girl! [Heney 

obeys reluctantly.] Come here, Bertha, that I may 

bless you. 

[Beetha goes to Agnes, who makes the sign of the 
cross over her. While Agnes is so occupied with 
Beetha, Heney has stepped ivith Peaxedis to the 
front.] 
Heney {in a low tone of voice). Say, can you ride and shoot? 
Peaxedis {the same). Yes, I can ride and shoot. 
Heney. Would you like to go hunting with me ? 
Peaxedis. Yes, I should like much to go hunting with you. 
[There is a pause. The other ladies have approached 
Agnes and Beetha.] 



KING HENRY 29 

Henby (as before). Say, are you also betrothed! 

Pbaxedis. I don 't know, but I rather think so. 

Heney. Say — do you know — I '11 be emperor one of these 

days ; would you like to be empress 1 
Pbaxedis. Yes, I would like much to be an empress. 
Heney. Well, then, let me tell you --when I am emperor, 

you shall be my wife. 
Pbaxedis. But you have a wife already, haven't you? 
Henby, Yes — but she weeps all the time — that's awfully 

tiresome — do you weep? 
Pbaxedis. Weep ? No. 

Enter from the right Abbot Htjgo of Clugnt. 

Hugo. Empress — your Highness! \_All present turn 
their heads toward Hugo. J I — I do not wish to 
frighten you — but — I — I must tell you — 
Agnes. What tidings do you bring? 

Hugo. Count Otto von Nordheim, who went on the hunt 
with the Emperor, is just returning to the palace at full 
gallop. 
Agnes {rises startled fromher seat) . Without the Emperor? 
Hugo. Without the Emperor. 
Agnes. What does that mean? 

[^Behind the scene, on the right, arises a loiv murmur 
of voices, coming from the distance and increasing 
in loudness. There is a noise of many steps hurry- 
ing hither and thither.] 

Enter, from the left, Ordxtlp, Hermann, Eckbert von Meissen, Udo von 
DEB NoEDMARK, and other Saxon nobles. They remain at the entrance, 
and begin to talk excitedly with one another in a low tone of voice. 

Agnes (looking about perplexed and terrified). These men 
— these voices — what means this hollow sound of has- 
tening steps? Where is the Count von Nordheim? 

Hugo (looking out on the right). He is just getting off his 
horse. 



30 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Otto von Nordheim enters from the right, bareheaded, showing great 
emotion; he is followed by a crowd of palace servants, men and women, 
and noblemen and churchmen, so that the stage is occupied far into 
the rear. 

Otto von Nobdheim {goes to the empress, falls on his 

knees before her, seizes her hand, and bends over it). 

My Empress — Almighty God! 
Agnes. Where did you leave my husband, your master? 
Otto von Nobdheim {lifting up his face toward her, speak- 
ing softly). In the hands of Him from Whose hands 

he came. 
Oedulf {in a loud and hard voice). The Emperor is dead. 
Agnes. Oh, help me ! [She staggers, takes hold of a chair; 

Adelheid hastens to her side and supports her.] 
Heney {standing in the centre of the stage, clutches his 

hair with both hands). My father ! \_Makes a move to 

run off toward the right.] 
Otto von Nobdheim {holding him back). MyyoimgKing — 
Henby. Let me go to my father! 
Otto von Nobdheim. He is not here; he lies out in the 

forest, where he fell from his horse as he rode by my 

side, suddenly, as though God had stricken him with 

His thunder. 
Agnes {covering her face with her hands, falls into a chair). 

God's judgment was upon him! God's judgment has 

stricken him! 
Henby. Let me go to my father, I must go ! 
Anno {taking him by the hand). Here is your mother, your 

' place is by her side ! 
Henby {pulling his mother by the dress). Come then, 

mother! mother, come! 
Agnes {paying no attention to Heney, she turns and seises 

HiLDEBBAND with both hands) . Don't leave me ! Don't 

leave me ! I'll die if you leave me ! 
HiLDEBBAND {holding her hands in his hands). I will not 

leave you, nor will you die. 
Heney {pulling Agnes by the dress). Mother, now come! 

Mother, mother, come! 



KING HENEY 31 

Anno (separating the boy from his mother). Don't behave 
so unseemly toward your mother. 

Heney. She forbade me to go to my father when he was 
still living; now he is dead: she shall lead me to my 
dead father! 

Okdulf {comes suddenly from the left toward the front and 
seises the hoy by the shoulder). You are not going to 
give orders here any longer ! The time has come now 
for you to obey. [Tossing his head about.] I speak 
here in the name of all free Saxons! You have seen 
this boy draw his sword against free-bom men! Do 
you consent that this stubborn boy, for his own welfare 
and that of all Christians, be trained in churchly dis- 
cipline ? 

EcKBEET. I consent! I, Eckbert von Meissen! 

All the Saxons. We consent ! We consent ! 

Oedulf. Archbishop Anno ! Will you take charge of him, 
and take him with you to Cologne? 

Anno. Give the boy to me. 

[Oedulf pushes the boy into Anno's hands.] 

Heney (with an outcry). Mother! 

Agnes (she has started from the chair, has cast a terrified 
look upon her son, and is now turning to Hildebeand). 
Tell me what to do. I — I don't know. 

Hildebeand. Yield, be silent, and endure. 

Heney. Mother ! 

Agnes (is startled, makes a move toward her child, then 
turns hack). My God, give me strength, give me 
strength — I am too weak! 

Oedulf. Away with him, away to Cologne ! 

Heney (frees himself from Anno, rushes to Otto von Noed- 
HEiM, embracing his knees). Uncle Otto! Help me! 
Save me, save me, save me ! 

[Nobdheim stands hesitating what to do. There is a 
pause.] 

Oedulf (who, in the meantime, has had a whispering con- 
versation with his friend). Otto von Nordheim, sur- 
render the boy! 



32 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

EcKBERT. Surrender him, Count von Nordbeim. 

Otto von Nordheim. Does that mean — that you threaten 
me? 

Anno (steps between Nordheim and the Saxons). Who 
speaks here about threat? Do you think it wrong, 
Count von Nordheim, an evil thing, to educate Chris- 
tian kings in Christian ways? 

Otto von Nordheim (makes a move as though to put the 
boy from him). My young King — I — 

Henry (clings to him with increasing despair) . Uncle Otto ! 
Don't hand me over to these men! Don't forsake me, 
Uncle Otto, don't forsake me ! 

[Rapoto breaks suddenly through the crowd of men 
and women who fill the background, and throws 
himself on his knees before Otto von Nordheim.] 

Rapoto. In the name of God the Almighty, Count von 
Nordheim, be a father to this unbappy child ! 

Ordulf (advancing a step toward Rapoto). What business 
have you here ! Get yourself away ! 

Rapoto. This child is speaking to you, Count von Nord- 
heim, in the words of a child ; but the fear that speaks 
in these words is as just as the words of eternal truth! 
All that remains of our Emperor Henry, Count von 
Nordheim, here it is ! His hope, his very own spirit, 
here it is ! In your bands it is ! Remember your dead 
Emperor, Count von Nordbeim ! Save your Emperor's 
hope, save his very own spirit! 

Ordtjlf. Otto von Nordheim, bow can you listen, to the 
twaddle of this miserable Frank? This is the fellow 
that sneaked into the festive gatherings of our serv- 
ants, caught every word that fell from their unthinking 
lips, and carried it in baste to the Emperor, as a dog 
trained to return bis master's glove. It's the fellow 
that caused the Emperor's heart to turn in hatred 
against all that bear the Saxon name. Do you know 
that, Otto von Nordbeim, do you know that? 



KING HENRY 33 

EcKBBRT. Will you take a stand against your own com- 
rades? Against your own country? 

Hermann. Surely, Otto von Nordheim, you will not do 
this! 

Anno {steps between Nordheim and the Saxons). Wh.y 
urge this noble man? Can't you see that your threat- 
ening words offend him? Give the boy to me, Count 
Otto von Nordheim. 

Otto von Nordheim {after a final struggle with himself). 
My young King, Christian discipline can hurt no one. 
No harm wiU be done you. \_Ee withdraws his arm 
from the hoy.] 

Ordulf and Eckbbrt {seizing the hoy). Come here! 

Henry {stares at Otto von Nordheim with wide open eyes). 
Uncle Otto — you? Uncle — Otto — [He falls, in a 
swoon, into the ha/nds of Obdulf and Eckbert.J 

[As Eckbert is lifting up the unconscious boy, the 
curtain falls.] 

Vol. XVII— 3 



Saxon Nobles 



KING HENRY 

In Four Acts 

persons of king henry 

Agnes, widow of Emperor Henry III of Oermamy 

Henry IV, her son, German King 

Bektha, his wife 

KoNRAD, his son [five years oldJ] 

Pope Gregory 

Hugo, Ahhot of Ckigny 

LiEMAE, Bishop of Bremen 

Eppo, Bishop of Zeitss 

Benno, Bishop of Osnabriick 

Wezel, Bishop of Magdeburg 

BuRKHAEDT, Bishop of Halberstodt 

Count Otto von Nobdheim 

Hermann Billunq 

ECKBEBT VON MEISSEN ^ 

Henry (Udo's son) von deb Nordmabk 
Rudolf of Buabia ] 

Welf of Bavaria I German Nobles 

Bebthold of Garinthia I 

UlBICH von GODESHEIM j 

Hebmann von Gleisbebg J ^'"'ig^i^ of *'»e King 

Lambert, Mayor ^ 

Gozzo, Master of the Mint I of Worms 

GozzELiN, Toll Collector 

The Masters of the Omlds of the merchants, the butchers, the smiths, the 

sword-cutlers, the bakers, the millers, the saddlers, the coopers, the 

fishermen, the carpenters, of Worm^. 
Ephbaim ben Jehuda| 
SuszKiND VON Obb f Elders of the Jewish community at Worm^ 

A Constable of Worms 

GOTTSCHAIK ] , „. . 

Adalbert / The Kmg's messengers 

Praxedis, tDife of the Count Henry von der Nordma/rk 

The Prefect of Borne 

Count Cencius of Borne 

Gekbald, a Flemish Knight 

DONADEUS OF ROME 

A Young Priest of Rome 

Captain of the Castle Sant" Angelo in Romk 

Priests, Citizens, Soldiers 

Place: The action of the first act takes place in Worms; of the second act 

in Borne and Worms; of the third act in the Castle of Canossa; of the 

fourth act in the Castle of fifomt' Angelo in Borne 

[34] 



KING HENRY 35 



ACT I 

A large room in the city hall at Worms. A series of steps lead up td 
the back wall which is pierced with windows. On the first platform 
stands a table with chairs. On the platform beneath this, a second table. 
Below, in front of the stage, a third table, on which we see a number of 
open parchments, and inkstands. The entrances to the room are on the 
right and left. 

Gozzo, the master of the mint, and Gozzblin, the toll-collector, are seated 
at the table in front. Lambeet, the Mayor, and Knight Ulrich von 
GODESHEIM, are standing on the steps. The ten masters of the guilds of 
the merchants, butchers, smiths, sword cutlers, bakers, millers, saddlers, 
coopers, fishermen, and carpenters, are standing in groups about the 
stage. 

Lambebt. Honorable masters of tlie guilds, KnigM Ulrich 
von Godesheim, whom you know, has a message for us 
from our King Henry. Listen to what he has to say. 

Ulbich von Godesheim. Good citizens of Rome, Henry, 
the German King, your Duke and Count, is coming to 
see you. 

All (in a simple, subdued tone of voice). He will be wel- 
come. 

Ulkich von Godesheim. He comes from Thuringia, from 
the Unstrut, where he fought with the rebellious Sax- 
ons from noon till the fall of night, and defeated them 
in a bloody battle. 

Lambebt. We heard about it. 

Ulbich von Godesheim. All these great fighters have sur- 
rendered unconditionally : Otto Count von Nordheim, 
Frederick von Goseck, the Count Palatine, Hermann 
Billung, Eckbert von Meissen and Henry von der 
Nordmark, also the faithless bishops, Wezel von Mag- 
deburg, and the worst of them all, Burkhardt von Hal- 
berstadt. 

Gozzo {striking the table). Our own Adalbert is not much 
better. 

All (laughing). No, no. 



36 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Gozzo. We showed him the way out of the walls of Worms, 
and the way back he has forgotten. 

All (laughing). Has he? 

Uleich von GrODESHEiM. King Henry knows that. King 
Henry has a warm heart. Hearts such as his can hate 
bitterly, but also love truly; and he loves you, citizens 
of Worms. 

Gozzo. All the cities along the Rhine know that King 
Henry is a friend of burghers. 

GozzELiN. Yes, a friend of burghers and of peasants. 

Uleich von Godbsheim. I'll tell you what I've seen with 
my own eyes ; it will show you that what you said is 
indeed true. 

Lambert. Tell us. 

Uleich von Godesheim. It happened on the banks of the 
Unstrut. When the Saxon dukes saw that everything 
was lost, they threw their shields on their backs, and 
rode away across the fields, as fast as their horses 
would carry them. 

Gozzo. I wish they had broken their necks ! 

Uleich von Godbsheim. But behind the dukes stood the 
Saxon peasants, who could not run away — why? 
Because they had no horses. 

Lambeet. Quite so. 

Uleich von Godbsheim. Upon these, crowded together like 
a herd of sheep without a shepherd, the pursuers threw 
themselves. Duke Gottfried at their head with his 
Lothringian horsemen. 

Lambeet. I guess not many of them survived. 

Uleich von Godesheim. Then the fight began : a butcher- 
ing and killing as in a slaughter house. But there 
appeared one on a white horse, in golden armor from 
head to foot, who threw himself against the Lothrin- 
gians, and shouted: " Stop, stop! " 

Lambeet. And they stopped? 

Uleich von Godesheim. They stopped, for that one was 
the King — King Henry. 



KING HENRY 37 

Lambeet, Well done, King Henry ! 

Gozzo. God bless King Henry! 

Ulbich von Godesheim. That's what the Saxon peasants 
also said when they fell down on their knees before 
him, and cried aloud, and kissed his hands and feet. 
Thereupon, when the battle had come to an end. King 
Henry said : ' ' Let us go to Worms ; there I wiU spend 
a feast day with the people. ' ' 

Lambert (pointing to the upper table). Turn around. Sir 
Godesheim; there stands the table which we have pre- 
pared for our King Henry. 

Gozzo. Don't forget the wine, Gozzelin. 

GozzELiN. You need not fear. 

Gozzo. Our Liehfrauenmilch from Anno Domini — 

Gozzelin. I know — 

Lambert. You needn't tell Gozzelin that; he has a close 
acquaintance with the wines of the cellars of Worms. 

All {laughing). Yes, yes. 

Ulrich von Godesheim. Good people, there is y«t another 
thing, — King Henry needs money. 

Gozzo {strikes the table, laughing). I knew you would say 
that, Sir Ulrich, I read it in your face. 

Ulrich von Godesheim. My face? 

Gozzo. I am the Master of the Mint, and have a sharp eye 
for such things. Citizens of Worms, shall we love 
King Henry with words, only, and when he needs 
money, send him away in shame, as one would a good- 
for-nothing? 

All. No ! 

Gozzo. Shall we open our mouth, and shut our purse? 

All. No ! 

Enter from the right a Constable. 

Constable. Mayor, you are called to the gate! King 
Henry is approaching! He is already three quarters 
of the way from Hofheim. 

Lambert. Sir Godesheim, will you come with me? 



38 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Uleich von Godesheim. I'll come with you. 

Lambert {as he leaves on the right). Orozzo, Master of the 

Mint, write down on your parchment what each one 

of the Guilds is willing to give. 

[Lambeet and Godesheim leave on the right.] 
Gozzo. Now the Master of the Mint is seated, and here is 

his parchment. Speak up, honorable Guilds! Who 

will head the list? 
The Mebchant, We, — the merchants come first. 
The Butcheb. All right, the merchants may be the first 

for this once, they 111 give the most, I dare say; else the 

butchers would have the first say. 
The Swoed Cutlee. Don't forget the sword cutlers, if you 

please. 
The Butcheb. The butchers have the first say. 
Gozzo. Let's come to the merchants — how much shall I 

put down for themV 
The Mebchant. Put down five hundred pound in fine 

silver. 
Gozzo {writing). Five hundred pound — by the Cologne 

measurement? 
The Meechant. By the Cologne measurement, at sixteen 

ounces. 
Gozzo {writes). By the — Cologne measurement. That 

makes one hundred and twenty thousand denarii in 

round numbers. Give me your hand ! Merchants, we 

are satisfied. 
The Butchee. The Master of the Mint talks as though he 

were King Henry himself. 
All {laughing). Yes, yes. 
Gozzo. Let's go on — who's the next? 
The Butcheb. We can 't pay five hundred ; put down three 

hundred for the butchers. 
The Swobd Cutlee {speaking up instantly). Put down 

four hundred for the sword cutlers. 
The Butcher. Well, four hundred for the butchers also ! 



KING HENEY 39 

Gozzo {laughs himself). Four hundred for the butchers — 
four hundred for the sword cutlers — that's eight hun- 
dred pound — makes, in round numbers, one hundred 
and twenty-two thousand denarii. Well done, butchers I 
Well done, sword cutlers! Who's the next? 

The Bakee. Put down two hundred pound for the bakers. 

Gozzo (writes). Two hundred pound. 

The Baker. Let's see now what the millers will give. 

The MnjLER, The millers? Well, two hundred also. 

The Baeeb. There you have it. 

The Miujbb. What d' you mean? 

The Baeeb. Aren't you twice as rich as we are? 

The MnjiEK. Not that I know of. 

The Baeeb. But we know. You get your living by us 1 

The Millee. What's he talking about — 

Gozzo (striking the table). Goodness, the whole hall is 
thick with flower dust I The bakers and the millers are 
kicking up a row ! 

The Butchee. As usual. 

All (laughing). As usual. 

The Miller. Write down two hundred and fifty pound 
for the millers. 

The Baeeb. Sponged out of fifty pound ! 

All (laughing). Yes, yes. 

Gozzo (writes). Two hundred and fifty for the millers — 
two hundred for the bakers — who's the next? 

The Smith. Put down one hundred and fifty for the 
smiths. 

The Cabpenter. The same for the carpenters. 

Gozzo (writes). The smiths, the carpenters — each hun- 
dred and fifty pound. Makes three hundred in all. 

The Saddler. Put down a hundred pound for the saddlers. 

TfiE CooPEB. The same for the coopers. 

Gozzo (writes). The same — for the coopers. There are 
still the fishermen. 

The Fishebman (scratching his head). The fishermen- 
well— write down— fifty pound for the fishermen. 



40 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The Butcher. Fifty pound! — Did you hear? 

All. Hear! Hear! 

Gozzo. Fifty pomid? What? Haven't you caught salmon 

enough this year? 
The Fisheeman. Master of the Mint, we had a had year. 
Gozzo. Who'll believe it! I had many a salmon on my 

table! 
The Mebchant. So had I. 
The Bakeb. They fish when no one can see. We bakers 

are worst off: everybody can look into our shops. 
The Mh^lee. I 've never yet heard of a baker that starved ! 
The Bakee. I'll believe it : the constant clatter of the mill 

makes one deaf! 
Gozzo {strikes the table). Quiet! Now fishermen, what 

is it? How much shall I put down for the fis.hermen? 
The Fishebman. Well — write down sixty pound. 
Gozzo (writes). Sixty makes ten more than fifty. 
All (laughing). Ten more. 
Gozzo (takes up the parchment). That's done now. Is 

there any one else? 

The Conetable appears in the door on the right. 

Constable. Master of the Mint, two of the King's cham- 
berlains are outside. 
Gozzo. The Jews? 

Constable. Ephraim ben Jehuda and Siiszkind von Orb. 
Gozzo. Their elders. Let them come in. 

Enter from the right Ephbaim ben Jrhuda and Suszkini) von Ohb. They 
cross their arms, make a bow, and remain at the entrance. 

Gozzo. Jews, what do you want? 

Ephbaim. We have heard that the burghers of Worms 
have come together to offer a money present to our 
King Henry, Emperor Henry's son, our Duke and 
Count. 

Gozzo. And you want to add your share? 



KING HEIjIEY 41 

Epheaim. Rabbi Isaak ben Hillel of tbe old Jewish, com- 
munity at Merseburg and Abraham ben Zadoch of the 
new Jewish community at Magdeburg have come to us, 
and told us, that King Henry is not one of those who 
step on the worm others have stepped on, or lift up 
the stone others have thrown; that King Henry is no 
enemy of the Jewish people, nor does he wish to ex- 
terminate them before his face. We, therefore, the 
Jewish people of Worms, have met, and have said to 
one another: God bless King Henry, the God of 
Abraham bless him, the God of Isaac and Jacob, for- 
ever, amen. 

SiJszKiND. Amen! Amen! Amen! 

Ephkaim. And because we cannot wear arms for him, nor 
fight for him against those that are armed, we want 
to help King Henry with what the Jewish people can 
give, with silver and with gold. 

Gozzo. We know you have money. 

All, (laughing). We know it. 

Gozzo. Now, then, Ephraim ben Jehuda, how much shall 
I put down for the Jews of Worms? 

Ephbaim {to Suszkind). Tell him, Siiszkind von Orb, you 
have it written down. 

SiJszKiND {producing a piece of paper). Master of the 
Mint, you shall write down, for the Jewish people of 
Worms, three thousand gold bezants. 

Gozzo. Three — thousa nd ! 

All {in a murmur of astonishment). Three thousand! 

Gozzo {writes). Three thousand gold bezants. 

SiJszKiND. Master of the Mint, you shall put down for the 
Jewish people of Speier — 

Gozzo. Of Speier? Do you represent also the Jews of 
Speier? 

Epheaim. As the dust is scattered before the wind, so are 
the children of Israel scattered over the face of the 
earth ; but the speech of their mouth is the same, and 
the soul that dwells in their body is the same. 



42 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Gozzo. Now, then, how nrnoh for the Jows of Speier? 
SuszKiND. You shall put down for the Jewish people of 

Speier one thousand gold bezants. 
Gozzo (writes). One thousand gold bezants. 
SiJszKiND. Master of the Mint, you shall put down for the 

Jewish people of Mainz five thousand Merovingian 

ducats. 
G-ozzo (strikes the table, and leaps from the seat). Five — 

five thousand ! [Seats himself again, and writes.] 

The Butcher (to the others). Did you hear that! 
The Bakee. What money they got ! 
All. Five thousand ducats I 

[_A general murm/ur of excited voices."] 

Enter in haste the Constable, through the door on the right. 

Constable. King Henry is in the city I 

Enter from the left burghers of Worms. 

All, King Henry is in the city ! 

{The people move to and fro in joyous excitement.] 

Enter from the right King Henry, a youth of twenty^ in golden armor, 
wearing a helmet on his head. He is immediately followed by Duke 
Rudolph of Suabia, WEiiF of Bavaria, Berthold or Carinthia, Ulkich 

VON GkjDESHEIM, HERMANN VON OlEISBEBG, the Bishops LlEMAR of 

Bremen, Eppo of Zeitz, Benno op Osnabruck, wnd Lambbkt the Mayor. 
All present on the stage have formed a group on the left, so that the 
centre of the stage has become free. 

Heney (advancing to the middle of the stage, he takes his 

helmet off). My greetings to your love, my greetings 

to your fidelity, my greetings to you, city of Worms! 

[Godbsheim takes the King's helmet.] 

All Bueghebs (with a thundering acclaim). We greet you, 
King Henry! King Henry, we greet you! 

Lambeet (holding a golden cup, which Gozzelin has given 
him, he steps before the King) . King Henry, our Lord, 
take the choicest of gifts which Worms can offer you 
from the hands of the Mayor of Worms. 



KING HENRY 43 

BteNEY {takes hold of the cup). I know your wine; it has 
been a comfort to me in tlie days of my adversity, a 
friend it shall be to me this joyous day. [He raises 
the cup, and turns about.} Are all our guests present? 
I do not see all here that I wish to see. Ulrich von 
Godesheim and Hermann von Gleisberg, go and call 
the wearers of my chains of honor. 

[Godesheim and Gleisbebg leave on the left.] 

Rudolph. Chains of honor? 

Henby. Chains that a king lays on others^ are they not 
chains of honor? 

Rudolph. Is it of the Saxon dukes that you are speaking? 

Henry. Of the dukes and of the Saxon bishops. 

Rudolph. Shall they be exposed before the whole people? 
Here? 

Heney. They shall sit at table with their king. Is that not 
honor enough? 

LiEMAE {with a pleasant smile). I'm afraid they will not 
think it an honor. 

Henry. They will have to learn that. "We all must learn, 
I had to learn. Ask Anno of Cologne. 

Enter from the right, with heavy step, the Saxon Dukes, OlTO VON NORO- 
HEiM, Hermann Billung, Eckbbrt von Meissen, Henry (Udo's 
son) VON DER NoRDMAEK, Fredekick Goseck, Bishop Wezel of Magde- 
iurg, Bishop Buhkhakdt of Halberstadt. They are dressed in dark 
garb, without swords, bareheaded, their hands are chained. They are 
followed by Ulbich von Godesheim and Hermann von GiiEISbebg. At 
the entrance of the Saxon dukes, who remain standing with bent heads, 
a deep, gloomy silence falls on all. 

Henry. Bishop Liemar, I had to learn to forget my boy- 
hood's faith. I put no longer trust in man; but test 
him as I come in contact with him. [He turns to the 
group of the Saxons, at the head of which stands Otto 
VON Noedheim; with a slow, measured voice.] It was 
a hard experience, but I have found teachers. [His 
eyes remain fixed on Otto von Noedheim.] The hour 
has come to tell them [he raises the cup, his voice gath- 
ers strength], that I have become of age ! 



44 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

LiBMAK (as before, in a low tone). And love, my dear King, 
— have you found no love in the course of your hard 
experience % 

Heney {with a hitter smile). Because I was betrothed at 
the age of ten? Do you mean that on that account I 
should have experienced the feelings of love? 

LiEMAR. Oh, my King, why so hitter? Did you not say 
that you were happy? 

Henby. I am happy, for I have revenge. 

LiEMAE. Better things than that you have: you have 
friends. 

Heney {shrugging his shoulders). Friends? 

LiEMAB. You yourself said so. 

Heney. At least that wherewith I may buy friends, that I 
have. 

LiEMAB. Buy.? 

Heney. I have power. [Bishop Liemab steps back.] And 
now, men of Worms, I drink to you first, with your own 
wine ! [He drinks to them.] 

Lambeet. God bless this drink to you. King Henry ! 

All Btjeghees of Woems. God bless you. King Henry! 

Heney {looking into the cup). Pure liquid gold, I can see 
thy very heart ! Thou dost conceal nothing, thou dost 
promise nothing thou canst not keep ! [His face dark- 
ens and he is lost in gloomy thought.] Why are men so 
unlike thee? Out of the earth thou didst come, and 
from the earth men came, — why are men so unlike 
thee? Thy first drops give us hope, thy last, the joy 
of success; comfort art thou and sweetness, at the 
beginning as at the end. [His glance falls again upon 
Otto von Noedheim.J Why do men promise what they 
fail to keep? Why are men sweet, sweet as hope is to 
the heart of the boy who believes in them, and bitter 
as wormwood to the heart of man who knows them? 
[He starts suddenly.] Give a cup of this wine to Count 
Otto von Nordheim! 












u 

en 
H 












m. 




KING HENRY 45 

Lambert (caWm^r). A cup! 

\_A constable hands Gozzelin a cup. The latter goes 
with it to Otto von Nobdheim, Otto von Nord- 
HEiM turns away angrily.'] 

Henry. Otto von Nordheim, why do you refuse this cup? 

Otto von Nobdheim. How can I raise this cup when my 
arm is heavy with chains? 

Henby. Bring the key! [Hermann von Gleisberg hands 
him the hey; he opens Nordheim 's chains, which fall 
rattling to the ground.'] You are freed from your 
chains; you can drink now. Drink! 

Otto von Nordheim. Why shall I drink? 

Henry. Because you heard what I said about the vdne. 
Because you may need it. 

Rudolph. Bang Henry! 

Welf. King Henry ! 

Beethold. King Henry! \^^^-ry turns toward them.] 

Rudolph. Though your prisoner, he is a duke and a man 
of honor. 

Welf. It is not right that you disgrace him in public. 

Henby. Who thinks of disgrace ? The King does him the 
honor to drink to him. Is that disgrace? 

Otto von Nordheim {who has taken the cup, puts it now in 
anger on the table, without touching it). You he, when 
you say that you do me the honor to drink to me ! 

Henry (furiously). Ah! — Which of us two lied to the 
other? [They look into each other's eyes; Nordheim 
averts the glance.] 1 am looking at your side. Otto 
von Nordheim, why are you not girded? Where is 
King Etzel's sword, which you once wore? 

Otto vo^r Nordheim. You know this as well as I do ! 

Henry. By this I know that I keep my promises better 
than you do ! The sword you promised to the boy at 
Goslar and did not deliver, Henry, the man, took from 
you on the banks of the Unstrut ! 

Hermann. Whyboast of your victory? We know that you 
defeated us ! 



46 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Henby. Don't forget, Sir Hermann, that I slew your 
brother Orduff. 

Hermann. Be sure I will not forget that ! 

Henry. That he may not return to put out men's eyes, and 
drive widows and orphans from their homes. 

EcKBBRT. We'll all remember this day, I promise that. 

Henry. You promise that? And I promise you that the 
day shall not return when you can steal defenseless 
children; that's my promise, Eckbert von Meissen, so 
long as King Henry rules over Germany. 

Eckbert. We'll see how long that will last. 

Henry {stepping toward Eckbert). Dare you threaten 
me? Base robber of children ! 

RuDOL-PH. King Henry! 

Welf. King Henry! 

Henry. I'll drive this margrave from his dominions as I 
would a dog ! 

Berthold. Outrageous ! 

[^Great commotion among the Saxons.] 

LiBMAB (to Henry). I beseech you. King Henry, I implore 
you — 

Henry. Why implore me? First call back to life the ten 
thousand Saxon peasants who, by the sword of Gott- 
fried, fell on the bank of the TJnstrut, died, because 
these men incited them to break faith with their king! 
Return to me what no man can return, — a heart full 
of faith, a confiding soul, my own youth, which they 
stole from me ! 

LiEMAR. My Lord and King, be not overcome by anger. 
[He takes the King's hand, and points to the burghers 
of Worms.] Remember you have friends! 

Henry (pressvng Liemar's hand). You are right, you are 
right ! [Turning to the burghers of Worms, he notices 
Gozzo, who approaches him, parchment in hand.] 
This parchment — is it for me? 

Gozzo. King Henry, it's the record of the money which 
the city of Worms offers you as a gift. There are 



KING HENRY 47 

better gifts than gold, I know well; but gold may be 
touched and handled, and, therefore, it's a sure thing. 

Heney {taking the parchment). Let me then touch and 
handle it. [He looks into the parchment.'] Is it — is it 
true that you mean to do all this for mel 

Gozzo. Indeed, and with a glad heart. 

Henry. Mayor, give me your hand ! [He seises Lambebt's 
hand.'] But this is not enough — [He throws his arm 
about Lambert's shoulder.] Here, come to me — so! 
[He draws Lambert to him and kisses him.] I thank 
thee, City of Worms ! 

All the Burghers op Worms. God keep thee, King 
Henry ! God keep thee and bless thee ! 

Henry (looks again into the parchment). Whose nam«s 
are these, down at the bottom? The Jews of Worms, 
of Speier, of Mainz? [Glancing up.] Are the Jews 
here? [Epheaim and Sijszkind approach. To Eph- 
eaim.] What is your name? 

Lambert. The name of this one is Bphraim ben Jehuda; 
Siiszkind von Orb is the name of the other. They are 
the elders of the Jews of Worms. 

Ephraim. The people of our community have come to- 
gether, the Jewish people of Worms, and have said to 
one another, God bless King Henry, the God of Abra- 
ham bless him, the God of Isaac and Jacob, forever. 
Amen. 

SuszKiND. Amen! Amen! Amen! 

Henry. Why shall your God bless me ? 

Epheaim. Because King Henry is not one of those who 
step on the worm others have stepped on, or lift up the 
stone others have thrown; nor does he wish to extermi- 
nate the Jewish people before his face. 

Heney. You sp«ak the truth. Ben Jehuda, give me your 
hand. [Epheaim, with a low bow, places his hand in 
that of the King.] I accept your gift, and also your 
blessing : for the God of Abraham is also my God. 



48 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

LiEMAB. King Henry ! 

[A low murmur among the dukes, astonishment and 
whispers among the burghers.] 

Henry {turning about). Who thinks otherwise? 

Wezel. The whole of Christendom knows that the God of 
the Jews is not our God ! 

BuRKHAEDT. And that all who speak as you have spoken 
are heretics! 

Henry {with an angry smile). You forget that I was edu- 
cated by a priest. I know the Bible better than you do. 
Is it not written, " Bender unto Caesar what is 
Caesar's? " Wezel and Burkhardt, bishops though you 
be, what have you given your Caesar, your king? 
[There is a pause. He laughs.] Ah, this has stopped 
the crowing of the roosters ! 

Burkhardt. You call me a rooster? You think I crow? 
Well, then, I'll crow so that the people in Rome will 
hear me! Indeed, they have heard the crowing al- 
ready! Pope Gregory knows who you are, what you 
are — your very thoughts! 

Henry. Does that mean that you have written him, without 
my knowledge ? 

Burkhardt. If you want to know it, yes! 

Henry {starts up in anger, controls himself, and bursts out 
laughing ) . Did you hear that ? Bishop Burkhardt von 
Halberstadt wishes us to know that he can read and 
write ! 

Burkhardt {flushed with anger). That — that I can read 
and — and write? 

Henry. What other reason could you possibly have had 
for writing to the Pope? You did well. Pope Gregory 
will be delighted to hear that you can write. It is a 
rare accomplishment among German bishops. 

Gozzo {laughing). True enough! Our own Adalbert did 
not know much about it ! 

All the Burghers op Worms {guffawing). It's the truth! 
It's the truth! 



KINO HENRY 49 

LiEMAE. King Henry, King Henry, is it right and proper 
to expose the bishops of our church to the guffaw of 
these people? 

Henby. When the roosters crow, the horses whinny; that 
has always been so. Why did the rooster of Halber- 
stadt crow so loud! 

BuKKHAEDT. Pope Gregory knows the life you lived in 
your castles in the Harz, — drinking and gambling, with 
harlots and boon companions ! 

Heney {in a loud voice). Give him some wine, else he'U 
choke ! 

Gozzo (laughing aloud). Good! 

All TSE 'BvnGM-EBs OF Wc3,Ms (guffawing). Good! Good! 

Btjbkhaedt. That you appropriated the estates of the 
churches and cloisters, and sold bishoprics for gold. 
Pope Gregory knows also ! 

Heney. I'm glad he knows it. He'll not be surprised to 
learn, therefore, what I mean to do now. Wezel and 
Burkhardt, I shall drive you out of your bishoprics, 
do you hear? I shall buy two. other bishops in your 
stead ; with the money of the Jews I shall buy them ! 
[A solemn stillness falls upon all after these words."] 

LiEMAE. I pray that God may not have heard the words 
you have just spoken. King Henry. 

Heney. Let Him hear my words — let the whole world 
hear them! I care not whether it be duke or vassal: 
I am the King, and the will of the King is law in Ger- 
many! I care not whether it be Jew or Christian: I 
am the King, and allegiance to the King is religion to 
the German people! Why do we waste our time? I 
came here to have a day of feasting! A joyous mes- 
sage I am awaiting from the Pope ! In your midst I 
will receive it. Pope Gregory will invite me to come to 
Rome. I have become King, I want to be Emperor! 
He will put a crown upon me, and this crown will be a 
bright ornament on my head! My heart wiH rejoice 
in my bosom, and my foes shall lament at my feet! 

Vol. XVII— 4 



50 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Let music resound, and bring to me -women and wine ! 
Why are there no women at this feast? 

Lambert. My King, we — we did not think — 

Gozzo. Pardon us. King Henry, our women do not attend 
the feasts of our men. 

Hbney. My good people, your women will have to learn it : 
flowers should he where they can be seen. 

GozzELiN. My King, there is a lady outside. [Henby be- 
comes attentive.'] Do you wish to see her? She has 
been here for some time, asking permission to see you. 

Henry. For some time? 

GozzELiN". She has been in Worms a number of days. She 
is of noble birth. [He glances toward the Saxon 
prisoners.] I believe sbe belongs to the party of the 
dukes. 

{There is a murmur among the Saxons.] 

Henry (smiling). A fair intercessor? By God, let her 
come in ! [Gozzelin proceeds to the door on the right.] 
If she be pretty, she will be an intercessor with mine 
own heart; I will give her a warm welcome. 

Enter from the right Praxedis, in a dark dress, a veil over head and face. 
She stops before Henry. 

Henry. Remove your veil, I do not care to play hide and 

seek with pretty women. 
Praxedis (removing the veil, she looks smilingly at him, — 

in a low voice). Yes, every one knows King Henry 

does not like that. 
Henry (pleasantly surprised). Praxedis! [Offers her 

both of his hands.] 
Praxedis. You remember me? 
Henry (holding both of her ha/nds, he looks into her face). 

It is a long time since we saw each other last. 
Henry von der Nordmark (advancing from the group of 

the Saxons). This is my wife. 
Henry (paying no attention to him). Have you thought of 

me in all this time? 



KING HENEY 51 

Peaxedis (with a gay laugh) . Who can forget King Henry ! 

Henry von deb Nordmabk. She is my wife ! 

Henby. I heard that she took you for a husband. [To 

Peaxedis.] Are you satisfied with him? 
Peaxedis. You see I am, for I've come to intercede for him. 
Henby von dee Nobdmark. Who asked you to do that? 

No one need intercede for me. 
Henby. Why so rude, my good Count? It hurts no man 

to receive favors from pretty women. [To Peaxedis.] 

What is it you ask for him? 
Peaxedis. He did not fight against you. 
Henby. I know that ; but Udo did, his father. I hold him 

as a hostage for his father. 
Peaxedis. Is it customary to hold hostages in chains? 

Free him from his chains, King Henry, — will you? 

[She looks imploringly at him, as she folds her hands.] 
Henby (looks at her with loving eyes). By God, she has 

learned to fold her hands. 
Peaxedis {looks up into his eyes). Please! Please! 
Henby {straightening himself). Oif with the chains from 

Henry von der Nordmark! 

[Uleich von Godbshbim and Hermann von Gleis- 
BEEG approach him. Henry von der Nordmark 
steps hack.} 
Henry von dee Nordmark. I don't wish to be freed. 
Henry. You — you don 't wish to ? 
Henry von der Nordmark. Not in this way; indeed, not! 

Not, while my friends are in chains ! 
Praxedis {as before). Remove the chains from all of them 1 

King Henry — will you? Please! Please! 
Henry {looks at her with a smile of surprise). Ah, ser- 
pent ! Gold-tongued serpent ! Yet I am comforted, for 

Adam also was a man! [Galling.] Eemove th« chains 

from aU of them! 

[Surprised, all present in the hall, utter a whispered 
"Ah! " Uleich von Godbsheim and Heemann von 
Gleisbeeg approach to unlock the chains. The 



52 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

burghers put their heads together. Liemar stands 
alone with sorrowful face. The Dukes Rudolph^ 
Welf, and Bebthold, together with the Bishops 
Eppo and Benno, form a group.] 

Welf (in a low tone to the others). What do you say to 
this? 

Rudolph. It's shameful! It's outrageous! 

Beethold. It's outrageous! 

Henby {stands with Pbaxedis in front of the stage, caring 
naught about the whispers behind his back). What 
will you give me for all this I am doing for you? 

Pbaxedis {looks at him sharply, smiling slyly). 1 will give 
you good counsel. 

Henby. Good counsel? 

Pbaxedis. Don't forget that you have a wife. 

He^-ry {with a hiss) . Ah — serpent! By God! I give her 
honey, and, in return, she gives me poison! [He 
turns.] Let's sit down — why stand all day? 

Lambeet {pointing to the table on the upper platform). 
The table is ready for you, King Henry. 

Henby {to the Dukes Rudolph, Bebthold, and Welf). Let 
us sit down, Dukes! [To the Bishops Liemab, Eppo, 
and Benno.] You, Bishops, also! [Taking Pbaxedis 
by the hand.] You, my Coimtess, sit by my side. [Ee 
leads Pbaxedis up the steps, the Dukes Rudolph, 
Beethold, and Welf, with the Bishops Liemab, Benno, 
and Eppo, follow him; they all seat themselves at the 
upper table.] Where do the burghers of Worms sit? 

Lambeet {stepping to the table on the middle platform). 
With your permission. King Henry, at this table. 

Henby. This permission is gladly given. [Gozzo, Goz- 
ZELiN, and the masters of the guild go to the middle 
table.] And give the Jews a place there also. 

[A movement among the burghers.] 

Gozzo {looks at his friends inquiringly). The Jews, at 
our table? 

Ephbaim {who has stopped with Suszkind von Obb below 
on the stage). We thank you, King Henry. Let this 



KING HENEY 53 

favor that you have shown us suffice. Let us not sit 
by the side of these men, who have an aversion to sit 
with Jewish people. 
Henry {standing behind the table). What was your name? 

I've forgotten it. 
Lambeet. Ephraim ben Jehuda is his name. 
Heney. Well, then, Ephraim ben Jehuda, understand, that 
it is not proper to decline favors offered by the king. 
Take a seat there at the table, you and your friend. 
[Ephraim and Suszkind cross their arms, make a 
deep bow, walk to the table of the burghers, and 
seat themselves at one of the corners. The King 
with Peaxedis at his side, the Dukes and Bishops 
whom he has taken to his table, have seated them- 
selves. The burghers of Worms are also seated. 
The Saxon nobles stand in a sinister group about 
the table below on the stage; they have crossed 
their arms, none of them is seated. The rest of 
the people fill the back of the stage. Servants 
enter from the left, carrying drinking-cups on 
trays. They carry them to the tables, on which 
they put the cups. In doing so, they approach the 
Saxons, to whom they offer the cups because they 
are not seated. The Saxons decline with a shake 
of their heads.'} 
Hermann {to the servants). Drink the wine yourself. 
Henry. Will the Saxon Dukes not drink with us ? 
All the Saxons. No ! 

Henry. Then let them look on ! Raise the cups ! {^Every- 
body raises his cup.} Let us touch our glasses in honor 
of the day — 

The constable enters hurriedly on the right. 

The Constable. King Henry! [Henry turns to him.] 
Two nobles have just arrived, — Gottsehalk and 
Adalbert. 

Henry {rising quickly). My messengers from Rome! 

The Constable. A ladv is with them. 



54 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Heney. Another woman? So mucli the better! Show 
them in ! [The constable opens a door behind him.] 

Empress Agnes enters slowly from the right, dressed in the rough garb 
of a penitent, a cord about her waist, her naked feet in sandals. 
GrOTTSCHALK and Adalbert, who enter directly behind the empress, 
remain at the door. 

AsNES proceeds slowly toward the middle of the stage, her eyes rigidly 
fixed on King Henry and Peaxedis. She starts convulsively, and stops 
as she recognises PraSedis. A whisper passes through the hall at the 
moment the Empress enters: "Emperor Henry's widow!" All who 
were seated rise and remain standing. There is breathless silence. King 
Henry has become deathly pale; his whole bearing bespeaks the intense 
emotion that passes through him. 

Henry {hoarsely). My mother! — Does she come — 
Agnes. Your mother comes from Rome. On my way I 
met a woman in misfortune. 

[Peaxedis makes a move to leave King Henby's 
side.] 
Heney {turning suddenly to Praxedis). Where are you 

going? 
Peaxedis. Away ! 

Henry {holding her hand). Stay! [Peaxedis makes an 
attempt to resist.] I command it ! 

[Henry von dee Noedmaek leaves the group of the 

Saxons. Otto von Nordheim holds him back. A 

brief, excited murmur arises among the Saxons.] 

Agnes, I found her at a place, — I've forgotten its name 

— it was a miserable place. She was leading a boy by 

the hand. By this I knew that she had a husband. I 

asked her, " Where is your husband? " She did not 

know. Then I asked, " Boy, where is your father? " 

The boy did not know. I have come to seek the man 

who left his wife, to seek the father who left his child. 

Today I have found him. [Stretching her hand toward 

King Henry.] Behold — it is the German King! 

[A gloom settles upon the people.] 



KING HENRY 55 

Henby. Since my mother herself — says it, I — I hope she 
will not forget that she is speaking to the King. 

Agnes. Here I find him — by the side of his mistress! 

Praxedis {with an outcry). I am not his mistress! 

Agnes. Mistress ! 

Henry von der Nordmark {resisting furiously the efforts 
of the Saxons who hold him hack). This is my wife! 

Praxedis {freeing herself forcibly from King Henry). By 
force he led me to this place ! 

Henry von der Nordmark. Come here to me, wife ! 

Praxedis. By force he kept me by his side ! 

Henby von der Nordmark. Say no more ! Your husband 
will speak for you ! [£fe has gone toward her, and has 
ascended a few steps.'] 

Praxedis {meeting him from above, she throws herself into 
his arms). I came to intercede for my husband — 

Henry von der Nordmark {drawing her roughly to him). 
Say no more, I tell you ! 

Rudolph. Lead her out, Count Henry : the King will make 
no objection. 

Henry {turning his head quickly toward Rudolph). Who 
gives orders while I am here? [To Henry von der 
Nordmark.] You may take her out. [Henry von der 
Nordmark and Praxedis leave on the right. King 
Henry crosses his arms, and turns with an icy smile 
toward Agnes. J This is settled now! What presents 
has my mother brought me from Rome ? 

Agnes. Henry ! 

Henry {with ironic disdain). I'm speaking now as in past 
days. Did I ever receive aught but good things from 
my mother? 

Agnes. Do you speak thus to your mother? 

Henry {with a vehemence suppressed only with difficulty). 
To my mother! Who for fifteen long years has not 
asked after me ! 

Agnes. Fifteen years I have thought only of you — 

Henby. In this garb of a penitent? 



56 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Agnes. As a pemtent, and in prayer to God. 

Henry. I thank you for this, my mother : your prayer has 
heen answered. Yonder are my foes, defeated by me. 

Agnes. Not for that I've prayed. 

Henby. For what then? 

Agnes. For the salvation of your soul. 

Henry {shrugging his shoulders). Of my soul? Ask Anno 
of Cologne, what has become of my soul. You gave it 
to him for safe keeping. 

Agnes {looks helplessly about). Is there no one here who 
will speak for me to my son's heart? 

Henry. Let's come to business. What's your message 
from Pope Gregory? 

Agnes. How do you know that I come from him? 

Henby. Is he not your father confessor? 

Agnes. If you know I come from him, let us step aside, 
and talk in private. 

Henry. Whose sins did you confess to him? 

Agnes. Let us step aside that I may give you his mes- 
sage in private. 

Henry. Whose sins did you confess to him? 

Agnes. Your sins! 

Henry. And the sins against your son, did you confess 
these also? 

Agnes {her hands before her eyes, she falls dovm upon the 
steps). Oh, how terrible! 

LiEMAR. King Henry! This is against God, man, and 
nature. 

Henry. Yes : against nature. Bishop Liemar, you're right ! 
Against nature is this very day, as all the days of my 
life have been! [He strikes his breast.l The sun 
shone in my heart, but its light was extinguished I The 
child's longing cry for its mother was in my heart: 
in its place, I was given the litany! For love I hun- 
gered : in its place, I was given a stone, and my lan- 
guishing heart condemned to die of hunger ! 



KING HENRY 57 

Rudolph. This can't continue! 

Welf. It must not be ! 

Beethold. It's outrageous! 

[A low threatening murmur, becoming louder and 
louder, passes through the hall: " Outrageous! 
Outrageous/ Outrageous! "'] 

Heney {stretching out his clenched fist). What are you 
grumbling about; what is it you want, what is out- 
rageous? Outrageous are the sins committed against 
me! I had to suffer them, and, therefore, I remem- 
ber them! Tested in the fire of pain, I've become 
hard as iron, and know no longer the feelings of 
tenderness. Having outgrown the conscience of the 
common man, I stand far above you. "Woe to him who 
touches the cutting edge of the iron! [There is a 
silence.] I sent a message to Rome, inquiring of Pope 
Gregory when he would crown me. What is Pope 
Gregory's answer? 

Agnes {motioning to Gottschalk and Adalbebt). I can 
say no more. You talk to him. 

[GoTTScHALK and Adalbert come forward.] 

GoTTSCHALK. Pope Gregory sends his greetings to Henry, 
the German King, and addresses him in these words: 
' ' I have held your hand in my hand when you were a 
boy, I have walked with your soul until this day, I was 
your friend, I am still your friend, and I hope to remain 
your friend. ' ' 

Heney (in nervous unrest). I hope so too. When will 
Pope Gregory crown me Emperor? 

GoTTscHALK. " Now that all who fought against you are 
at your feet, now that you have become the first among 
then, the most honored and most mighty, — I request 
of you, King Henry, as a father requests his son, as a 
-friend requests his friend, be also the best among 
men. " 

Heney. When will Pope Gregory crown me Emperor? 



58 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

[There was a pause. Heney plays nervously with the 
hilt of his sword.^ When will Pope Gregory — 

GoTTSOHALK {advances anxiously one step toward him), 
I beg of you, King Henry, hear me — 

Henry. I've been listening to you long enough. 

GoTTSCHALK. The Pope 's love is sincere ; bis heart knows 
no falsehood. Have no doubt about this, King Henry. 
You know me to be your most faithful servant. Have 
no doubt about this, even if — 

Heney. Even if — ? 

GoTTSCHALK {showing great agitation and anxiety). Even 
if Pope Gregory — cannot grant today what you ask 
of him. 

Heney. Ah — ! 

GoTTSCHALK. It's 3 questiott of time. King Henry! For 
the present only! For the moment only! 

Henry. And why not in this moment? 

GoTTSCHALK (raising his hand). Dearest King — 

Henry. Why not? 

GoTTSCHALK. Let US be alone, King Henry. To deliver 
the message to you in person, was the Pope's order. 

Heney. Why not here? Why alone? Why these sub- 
terfuges? 

GoTTSCHALK. Not subterfugcs — 

Henry. Then, why not here before all the people! 

GoTTSCHALK. Because Pope Gregory wishes to speak to 
you as a father speaks to his son — 

Heney. I am Emperor Henry's son, not son of the Pope 
in Rome. 

GoTTSCHALK. Bishop Liemar, help. You talk to him ! 

LiEMAB. For the good of the empire, King Henry — 

Henry. I, as your King, command you, Gottschalk ! Speak ! 

GoTTSCHALK. Because you — [Once more he lifts up im- 
ploringly his hands.'] King Henry — 

Heney {bending over the table). Because I — 

GoTTSCHALK ( drops despairingly hands and head ) . Because 
you — you are not prepared foi* it yet. 

Heney. Ah — ! 



KING HENRY 59 

All the Saxons (talking excitedly to one a/nother). Hear 
what the Pope said ! What the holy Pope said ! 

GoTTSCHALK. Because the head on which the German im- 
perial crown is to rest must be as pure as the mountain 
covered with freshly fallen snow, free from sin, above 
the common, beyond suspicion. And because the holy 
Pope has heard that it is not so with you, King Henry. 

All the Saxons {as before). Hear what the Pope said! 

GoTTSCHALK. Therefore, before he will anoint your head 
with the ointment, thrice holy; before he wiU place 
upon your forehead the consecrated ring which en- 
circles the dominions of the whole baptized world, — 
you. King Henry, shall confess — 

Henry (bursting into a wild laughter). Confess? 

GoTTSCHALK. Not in public. King Henry, not in public; 
for Pope Gregory will not ask anything of you which 
would disgrace you — 

Henky. Confess? What? 

GoTTSCHALK. Whether it be true that you sold bishoprics 
for gold? Whether you put away your lawful wife — 

Henry. Because that priest in Rome orders me to do it? 

GoTTSCHALK (svnTcs on his knees, raising his hands). Under- 
stand that he cannot do otherwise ! Understand that 
he speaks to you as a father, gently and justly! 

Henry. That he 's a monk, that I understand ! A renegade 
monk ! 

GoTTSCHALK (leaping to his feet). King Henry! 

[An outcry throughout the hall: " King Henry! "] 

Henry (comes from behind the table moving toward the 
front). Three popes Emperor Henry unseated! 
Listen what Emperor Henry's son will say to the 
Roman priest! [He has reached the table in front, 
on which the parchments are lying. He strikes the 
table.'] Here are the things to write with! Bishop 
Liemar, come here ! Sit down at this table and write ! 

Liemar (approaching reluctantly). What — what shall I 
write? 



60 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Heney. Sit down! 

LiBMAB. To — to whom shall I write? 

Heney. You will hear in a moment — sit down! [Liemab 
seats himself. Henby stands in the middle of the stage, 
dictating in a loud voice.'] " Henry, by the grace of 
God King, to Hildebrand, the spurious monk, the 
usurping Pope, who from this day is Pope no longer — 

LiEMAE {throwing wway his pen). I wiU not write this! 

Heney. Liemar ! 

LiEMAE {jumping from his chair). I will never write this! 

Heney. Are you also one of my enemies? 

Liemab. He who writes this letter for you would be your 
worst enemy. 

Heney. Benno of Osnabriick, come here ! 

Benno. No, King Henry! 

Heney. Eppo of Zeitz ! 

Eppo. No, King Henry ! 

Henby {stamping on the ground). No, King Henry! No, 
King Henry ! Obstinate rebels ! 

Liemab. Never have we been more faithful to you than 
in this moment. {He falls on his knees before Henrt, 
seising his hands.] King Henry, I've obeyed you, I've 
served you, I've loved you! Come to your senses. 
King Henry, don't write these words ! Anger dictated 
them to you ; a curse will be the answer ! A fire these 
words will kindle, a great consuming fire ! Who knows 
what it will destroy, where it will end ! 

Heney {looking, over the kneeling Liemab, toward Wezel 
and Btjekhaedt). There they stand, Wezel and Burt 
hardt, both of them! [With a sudden resolve.] I 
know now who is to write this letter. Burkhardt of 
Halberstadt, you are a master in the art of writing, 
are you not? Come to the table ! 

Btjekhaedt. I — I shall — ? 

Heney. Write for me the letter to Hildebrand, the spuri- 
ous monk, — that's what you shall do! 

BuEKHAEDT. I will uot do it! 



KING HENRY 61 

Henry. You will not do it? ICalling to the right.] Call 

my soldiers! 
BuEKHABDT. TMs is compulsion ! 

All the Saxoks, Dukes, and Bishops. This is compulsion ! 
Henby. The King's will is law in Germany! 

[A crowd of armed soldiers force their way through 
the open door on the right, remavning there.] 
Henby. Burkhardt of Halberstadt, will you write this 

letter? 
BuEKHAKDT. I will uot Write it ! 

Henry {to his soldiers). Draw your swords! IThe sol- 
diers draw their swords.] Burkhardt of Halberstadt, 

will you write this letter? 
Burkhardt. No ! 
Henry {to his soldiers, pointing to Burkhardt). Have 

your eyes on this man ! If I count up to three, and he 

doesn't sit down at this table and write, cut off his 

head and throw it on the table! 
Burkhardt. My God in Heaven, do You hear that? Do 

You see what's being done? Will You suffer it? 
LiEMAE. King Henry ! King Henry ! 
Benno and Eppo {rushing forward). What are you doing, 

King Henry ! What are you doing ! 
Henry. I am counting — one! 
Burkhardt. Otto von Nordheim ! You help ! 
Otto von Nordheim. Rudoph, Berthold, and Welf, Dukes 

of the empire, do you see this monstrous iniquity that 

is being done? 
Rudolph. We shall not permit it to be done ! 
Berthold and Welf. We will not permit it ! 
Henry. But you will have to permit it! Burkhardt of 

Halberstadt, I am counting — two! 
Burkhardt {with clenched fists toward Henry). Satan! 

Satan! Satan! [He falls down on the chair at the 

table.] But by the side of my own writing — listen 

to w;hat I tell you— I'll draw a lance, for a sign, that 

I wrote under compulsion! 



62 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Henky. Draw as many lanees as you please, but write 
what I dictate. [He dictates as before.^ " Because 
you have usurped authority, and made yourself a judge 
over God-chosen kings, yourself guilty of simony—" 

BuBKHAEDT {throwmg away his pen). That's not true! 

LiEMAB. No, it's not true! 

Efpo and Benno. Pope Gregory is not guilty of simony! 

Henry (advancing half a step toward Burkhaedt) . ' * Your- 
self guilty of simony! " [Burkhaedt takes up his 
pen, and continues to write.'] " Because you have 
ascended the Papal throne on which you are seated, 
and have seized it through bribery, cunning and 
force — " 

BuRKHARDT {resisting in despair). Oh! Oh! Oh! — 

[-4 low murmur throughout the hall increases in 
loudness, so that the King, to drown it, is obliged 
to keep on raising his voice.] 

Henry. " Because you have assmned the authority of a 
judge over the deeds and lives of others, you who your- 
self are living in illicit relations with another man's 
wife — " 

Agnes (startled). Man, of whom are you speaking? 

Henry. Of Mathilde, the Countess of Cauossa, wife of 
Duke Gottfried! 

Agnes (rising from the grou/nd, stretching out her arms), 
I call the omniscient God as a witness ! What this man 
says is a lie ! 

All, the Saxons. A lie! A liel 

Agnes. Blasphemy and a lie! 

Henry. ' ' While you yourself are living in illicit relations 
with another man's wife, — therefore, be it known to 
you, another shall be Pope in your place, a better 
one than you are ! Therefore, I command you, descend 
from your throne, which does not belong to you 1 Come 
down ! Come down 1 ' ' 



KING HENRY 63 

LiEMAE. It's an outrage against God! 

[There is cm outcry throughout the hall: " Outrage 
agamst God! "] 
LiEMAR, Let us not stay Avith. this man, that we may not 

be partakers of his ruin! 
EuDOLPH. Let us be gone, away from this place ! 
All the Dukes, Bishops, and Bueghees {horrified, talking 
confusedly to one another). Let us be gone! Away 
from this place ! Away from this place ! 

[A wild tumult arises; the crowd throngs to the doors 
on the right and left, seeking to find am, exit.] 
Heney. What does this mean? 

\_The flight of the people ceases. The crowd gathers 
on the right and left in dense groups. The stage 
in front is empty.] 
Agnes (stands stately erect). That means a tempestuous 
storm, which will blow the leaves from the trees, as a 
sign that thunder and lightning are approaching! 
Henry. Only withered leaves the storm blows from the 
trees, and withered leaves are as chaff! For every 
coward that deserts me now, my soul will gain the 
strength of three men. [He steps to the table, signs 
the letter, then gathers up the parchment.] Ulrich 
von Godesheim! [Godesheim approaches. Heney 
hands him the parchment.] Tomorrow my messenger 
shall ride to Rome! 



64 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 



ACT II 

Scene I 

The nave of the Basilica Sancta Maria Majore at Borne. At the back of the 
stage, the high altar, before this, toward the front, on a platform, stands 
the throne of the Pope. It is dark. Wax tapers are burning at the high 
altar, which give light to the stage. Choir boys, holding burning tapers, 
are standing directly behind the Papal seat. Pope Geegort is seated on 
the throne. Abbot Hugo of Clugny, Bishop Otoxd of Ostia, are stand- 
ing at the right and left of the throne of the Pope. The Prefect of 
Borne, in full armor, stands on the right in front. Cekcius, in armor, 
his arms bound on his back, Knight GebbaI4>, in penitent garb, and a 
number of guards of the Basilica, are standing behind the Prefect. The 
space behind the throne and the high altar is filled with priests; the 
front part of the stage on the right and left, with men and women of the 
Roman people. 

When the curtain rises, we hear the last strains of the chant of the priests. 

He will break the power of the mighty — 

He will exterminate the unjust — 

But the just will live forever and ever. 

[There is a pause.] 
Gregory. If there are any waiting, Prefect, lead them 

before me. 
Prefect. Holy Pope, there are yet others who are asking 

a hearing, more important than these. 
Gregory. Who ? 
Prefect. .Messengers from Henry, the German King. 

[There is a pause.] 
Gregory. Yonder are men in chains, men in penitential 
garb. To loosen chains, to comfort souls waiting for 
salvation, is more important than to hear royal mes- 
sages. Henry's messengers shall wait. 
Prefect {seises Cencius by the shoulder, and thrusts him 
forward, so that he falls on his knees). You know this 
one. It is Cencius, the Count, Stephan's son. A most 
wicked criminal. 
Gregory. Of what does Cencius stand accused? 
Prefect. You know his crime: against your own person 
he committed it. You know that he broke with armed 



KING HENRY 65 

force into this holy church, dragged you from the high 
altar, carried you to his castle, and kept you a prisoner, 
till we, your faithful people of Rome, stormed his 
. castle, and liberated you out of his hands ! 

Geegoey. Cencius, do you confess your guilt? 

Cbncixjs {in a low tone of voice). I am guilty ! I am guilty ! 

Geegoey. What you have done openly, all have seen. 
What you have done to me when I was a prisoner in 
your castle, that confess now before these people! 

Cencius. I confess that I drew my sword against you, and 
brandished it above your head; because I sought to 
force from you the possession of lands my heart 
coveted. 

Geegoey {with a turn of his head). Men of the Church, 
what punishment does Cencius deserve? 

The Pbiests. As a robber, death ! 

Geegoey. Men of the Roman people, what punishment does 
Cencius deserve? 

The People {answering from the right and from the left). 
As a robber, death! 

[There is a pause.'] 

Geegoey. Priests and laymen, you are mistaken. This 
man has sinned; not, however, against the Church, but 
only against me, against Gregory, the man. He who 
sins against men may be forgiven. It is better that 
he live and do penance than that he die. Cencius, will 
you do penance? 

Cencius. I will do penance. 

Geegoey. Will you go to Jerusalem, confess, pray, and do 
penance at the tomb of our Saviour? 

Cencius, I will confess, and pray, and do penance at the 
tomb of our Saviour. 

Geegoey {to the Prefect). Remove his chains. [The Pre- 
fect unlocks Cencius' chains, these fall to the ground. 
To Cencius.] Stand up! [Cencius rises.] Cencius, 
you were a robber! Cencius, you are my brother! 

Vol. XVII— 5 



66 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

[Offering Mm his hand.'] Go on your mission, return 
from Jerusalem, and sin no more. 

Cencius {seises Geegoey's hcmd, and covers it with hisses). 
You — you are holy! You are holy — 

Hugo. It's true, what this man says — 

All {ecstatically). Holy! Holy! Holy! 

Geegoky {stretching out his hand commandingly. Imme- 
diate silence ) . Holy is the Church. Gregory is a man, 
poor and weak, like other men! [There is a pause. 
Geegoey's eyes fall on Geebald.] Who is this man 
yonder in penitential garb? 

Peefect {motions to Geebald to step forward). His name 
is Gerbald. He is a Walloon; a Flemish Knight. 

[Geebald falls on his knees.] 

Geegoey. What do you want of me? 

Geebald {stretching both of his hands toward him). These 
hands ! Free me from these hands. 

Geegoey. What's the matter with your hands? 

Geebald. Murder is upon them! Blood and treason! 

Geegoey. Confess more in detail! Whom did you kill? 

Geebald. Amulf, the Flemish Count. I was his vassal! 

Geegoey. You slew your own master, wretched man? 

Geebald {with deep emotion). I slew my own master! As 
he was riding by my side at the battle of Bavinkhoven! 
I killed him because Robert, the Frisian, bribed me 
with money! Thrice be it cursed! Like two mur- 
derers, these hands track me through life! I offer 
them to you! Save me from them! I've traveled 
through the world, I've been on my knees before every 
holy image, I've dipped these hands into every conse- 
crated well, — no one could help me, no one could save 
me. You save me, rbighty Pope of Rome ! Open your 
mouth, and let your word proceed from it ; it will calm 
my soul; it will banish the shadow of the slain one 
from my eyes! For you have power over the souls 
of men as over their bodies, you are holy, holy, and 
just ! 



KING HENEY 67 

Gbegory. Will you do penance? Will you offer me your 
hands, your blood-stained hands ? 

Geebald. I will do penance. I will offer you my blood- 
stained hands. 

Geegoky. Stretch out your hands, that I may sever them 
from your arms. 

Geebald {stretches out both of his hands). Here they are ! 

Gregoey. Draw your sword, Prefect! [The Prefect draws 
his sword; the people on the right and the left, and the 
priests from the rear, step forward to see the spec- 
tacle.] Seize his right hand! When I tell you, strike ! 
\^Ihe Prefect advances toward Gebbald.J 

Geebald (turns up his sleeve, and holds the naked right 
arm toward him). Not my hand only, but my whole 
arm! Sever it from my body! 

[^The Prefect, his eyes on Geegoey, waiting for a sign 
from him, seises Geebald 's hand.] 

Geegoey {to Geebald). And what will you do when you 
have no arm? 

Geebald. Beg on the way, die under the foot-steps of 
passers-by, and bless you when I die, for you laid upon 
me just penance ! 

Geegoey. Put your sword into your scabbard. Prefect! 
[The Prefect steps back, and replaces his sword.] 
Priests and laymen, behold a sinner unlike other sin- 
ners ! A truly penitent man ! Gerbald, the Walloon, 
listen to what I have to say to you. Your sins shall 
not be forgiven you today, they shall not be forgiven 
you tomorrow, nor in a week, nor in a month — but 
some day they shall be forgiven you. 

Geebald. My sins shall be forgiven me? 

Geegoey. You shall go to Hugo, the Abbot. He will put 
you in the Cloister of Clugny, to do penance, to receive 
punishment, and undergo pain. But you shaU take 
your hands with you. And when the day comes that 
I march with an army of Christians to Jerusalem, to 
wrest the tomb of our Saviour from the hands of the 
Heathens, then you may go forth from the Cloister 



68 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

of Clugny. Then you shall fasten the holy cross upon 
your bosom, and you shall use these your hands, your 
blood-stained hands, for Christ and the holy Church. 

Geebald {leaping from the ground). That I'll do! 

Gbegoky. And on the day on which you, as leader, will 
scale the walls of the heathen stronghold,— your sins 
shall be forgiven you. 

Gekbald. On that day I shall be forgiven? 

Geegoky. On that day you shall be forgiven. 

Geebald {rushes a step toward Gbegoey, falls on his knees, 
and folds his hands on his back). To kiss your foot, 
your holy foot ! Not with my hands I'll touch it : I've 
folded them on my back ! Be glorified ! [He presses 
his lips on Geegoey's foot.'\ I'll fight for Christ and 
His holy Church! [He kisses once more his foot.'] 
Be glorified! [He kisses his foot a third time.] For 
Christ and His holy Church ! For you are holy, holy, 
and just! 

The People and All the Peiests {with ecstatic fervor). 
Holy! Holy! Holy! 

Gbegoey {as above). The Church is holy; Gregory is like 
other men, dependent and weak. [There is a pause. 
To the Prefect.] There is yet another one waiting to 
be heard. Who is that third one yonder, Prefect? 

Pbefect. It is Donadeus, holy Pope, a lay brother em- 
ployed in the holy church of Saint Peter. [He pushes 
Donadeus to the front.] This man, who is a layman, 
read the Mass, disguised as a consecrated priest, to 
foreign pilgrims who did not know him, and took their 
money which they had placed upon the altar of Saint 
Peter. Of this I accuse him. 

Gbegoey. Is it true what they say against you? 

Donadeus. No, holy Pope ! 

Pbefect. Yes, holy Pope, what I say is true ! 

Donadeus. I'll produce witnesses to show that I am 
innocent ! 

Gbegoey. Be gone with your witnesses, you fool! Come 
here ! Look into my face ! 



KING HENRY 69 

DoNADEtrs {approaches Gbegory with uncertain step, and 
tries to look into his face) . I — I — [Holds his hands 
before his face as though to shield himself. 1 

Geegoey. Take your hands from your eyes! Look into 
my face ! 

DoNADEUs {his face covered with his hands). The light of 
judgment is in your eyes ! [He staggers and falls on 
his knees.] [There is a pause.] 

Geegoey. Men of the Church, -what shall this man's pun- 
ishment be? 

The Pbiests. Fine and banishment. 

Geegoey. Men of the people, what shall this man's pun- 
ishment be? 

The People. Fine and banishment. 

Geegoey. Priests and laymen, you are mistaken. This 
man, ordained to be a servant at the shrine of God, 
lied to the people that came to seek salvation of their 
souls, £ind cheated them out of their spiritual goods. 
[He rises from his seat.] This man shall die ! 

DoNADEus. Have mercy! 

Geegoey. Out of my sight! 

DoNADEUs. What I have done, others have done before me. 
They were sent into banishment by former popes; 
none of them had to die for this sin ! 

Geegoey. Then, you shall be the first to die for it ! 

DoNADETJS. Have mercy — 

Geegoey. Seize him. Prefect ! Lead him out to the square 

in front of Saint Peter's Church, scourge him before 

all the people, and when you have done this, bind his 

hands and his feet, and throw him into the Tiber. 

[The Prefect motions to his bailiffs who stand in 

the right corner back of him. The bailiffs throw 

themselves upon Donadeus.J 

DoNADEus {shrinking under the hands of the bailiffs). 
Have mercy! — [He is carried away.] 

Peefect. Away ! Justice is done you ! 



70 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

(Jkegory (stately erect). Behold this world and the dark 
night of sin that envelops it! Like howling wolves In 
the dark forest, men's acts of violence are prowling 
through the world! As the hideous toad grovels along 
the way, so greed grovels through the hearts of men! 
A sweet sacrifice, fragrant with incense, the world lay 
before God on the day on which He created it ; it has 
become a foul stench because of the sins of man. I 
lift up my hand unto God as a pledge, that I will build 
Him a sweet abode where He may dwell on this god- 
less earth! 

Hugo. Glory be unto God who found the right vicar, and 
gave him to us ! 

Gregory. I will build a House for His Church: as a dia- 
mond, strong and pur«; its walls arching from the 
East to the West; a refuge to the pursued ; a safe abode 
to aU who seek salvation; a dwelling-place of justice ^ 

Hugo. Amen! So may it be! 

Priests and Laymen. So may it be ! So may it be I 

Gregory. Therefore, priests of the Church, hear what I 
have to say. He who is called to the holy Office of 
priesthood, and discharges its duties otherwise than 
with pure hands, shall be cursed ! Vessels of God you 
shall be, your souls filled with thoughts eternal. Turn 
your back on silver and gold! Be poor! He who is 
poor in gold is rich in spirit! Turn your back on 
woman and the love for woman ! Be chaste ! He who 
is free from lust is free from the limitations of this 
earth ! And now, laymen, hear what I have to say to 
you. As man, lifting up his eyes unto the heavens, the 
sun, and the stars of the night, which he sees but can- 
not comprehend, trembles at the sight of the universe, 
and seeks refuge in the belief in Him who comprehetids 
the incomprehensible and measures what cannot be 
measured, — so you shall also tremble at the sight of the 
Church, and take refuge in her, and believe in her! 
For the Church is eternal, and holy and great, you, 
however, are mortal and sinful and as naught! 



KING HENEY 71 

H^GO (kneeling). Let us bend our knees before this man! 

[Priests and laymen fall down on their knees.'] 

Hugo. Holy Pope, beside whom I have stood as a friend, 

and in whose power I have sought shelter as the 

swallow that builds her nest under the eaves of the 

tower, strengthen us who are weak by the strength of 

your soul! Bless us! 

The Priests and the People. Bless us! 

[Geegoby rises solemnly his right hand as in bless- 
ing, and makes in the air the sign of the holy cross; 
then he motions to them to rise from their knees; 
they all stand up.] 
Gregory [seating himself). Bring before me the mes- 
sengers of King Henry. 

[The Prefect steps toward the right; a light of 
torches enters from this direction, we hear the 
murmur of many voices.] 

Enter from the right Gottschalk, a roll of parchment in his hands, 
Hbemann Billung, Eckbekt von Meissen, Henet von dee Nord- 
MAEK. The clothing of Heemann, Eckbert and Henry is disordered, 
their hair and beards dishevelled. 

Gottschalk (steps hurriedly before Gregory). Before I 
begin to speak, permit me to tell you, holy Pope, that 
these [pointing to the Saxons who follow directly 
after him] have entered unbidden — 

Hermann (with a loud passionate laughter). Unbidden, 
but for good reasons, because it was necessary. 

Eckbert (likewise excited). We won't go till you've heard 
us! 

Gottschalk. These are not the messengers King Henry 
sent. 

Hermann. We come on our own account. 

Gregory (who has looked with astonishment upon the 
group). Who are you? Why do you force your way 
into my presence? Whose messengers are you? 

Hermann. We are the messengers of our need. 



72 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

EcKBEBT. We came because we have heard you can drive 

out devils. To be saved from the devil we came ! 
Heney von deb Nordmabk. Dethrone him! Give us an- 
other king ! 
Hebmann. Another king give us ! 
Geegoby. Who — who are you? 

Hebmann. German princes we are. This is the way Ger- 
man princes look since this evil man came to rule 

over us ! 
EcKBEBT {stretching out Ms arm). See here on my arm the 

scars made by his chains. This is the way he treats 

the princes of his land. 
Heney von deb Nobdmabk. We fled from imprisonment at 

the risk of our lives ! 
Hebmann. Save us from him! Save us from him! 
Hugo {advancing a step). Two of you I recognize! You 

are Hermann the Billunge, Ordulf 's brother. 
Hebmann. That's my name. 
Hugo. And you are Eokbert von Meissen. 
EcKBEBT. None other. 
Hugo. Recall the fact, Pope Gregory, that these are the 

men who took Henry from his mother, when he was a 

boy — stole him. 
EcKBEET. Stole? 
Hugo. Stole and robbed! 

Hebmann. Has the devil friends even in Rome? 
Geegoby. Hold your tongue! You are mad! 
Hebmann. No, don't ask us to hold our tongue ! To speak 

our tongue we came here! That you may hear us we 

came ! As your allies we came ! 
Geegoby. Who asks alliance with you? 
Hebmann. Despair does not wait till asked; it speaks of 

its own accord! We are men in despair! 
EcKBEBT. We are in despair as is the whole German 

nation ! 
Henby von dee Nobdmabk. If you do not wish to listen to 

us, listen to King Henry! Listen to the message he 

sends you! 



KING HENRY 73 

Hermann. Listen to the message lie sends you! 

Gkegoey. How can I listen to his message so long as yon 
keep his messenger from speaking ! [To Gottschalk.] 
It is you, Gottschalk, whom I intrusted with a mes- 
sage to King Henry; did you deliver it? 

Gottschalk. I delivered your message. 

Geegoby. You bring me his answer? 

Gottschalk {with hent head). I — I bring you his answer. 

Gbegoey. Make it known. 

Hebmann (with a coarse laugh). Make it known, Gott- 
schalk. 

EcKBEBT. Come out with it, Gottschalk! 

Geegoby. Must I again ask you to hold your tongue? 
[To Gottschalk who stands parchment in hand, hesi- 
tating what to do.'\ Why do you hesitate? 

Heemann (aloud). Because he is afraid. 

Gottschalk. Hold your tongue, hold your tongue! 

Hebmann. Because he's afraid to read the message the 
scoundrel sent you! [Snatches the paper from Gott- 
schalk 's hand.^ Let me read! 

Gbegoey. It's his place to read it. Hand back the 
message ! 

Heemann (returning the parchment to Gottschalk). 
We'll see that you don't omit anything. 

Gottschalk (to Gbegoey). Pope Gregory, you will sepa- 
rate me, the messenger, from the message? 

Geegoby. Read your message. 

Gottschalk. Give me your hand, assure me that you will 
do this. 

Geegoby (gives him his hand). Read your message. 

Gottschalk (bends over Geegoby 's hand, kisses it, rises, 
unfolds the parchment, and reads). " Henry, by the 
grace of God King, sends these words to Hildebrand, 
the spurious monk, the usurping Pope, who from this 
day shall be Pope no longer." 

Peefect. Ah ! Hear ! 

Heemann (in a loud voice). Yes — did you hear it! 



74 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

[A low suppressed murmur throughout the whole 
church.] 

Gbegoey {raising his right hand, commanding silence). 
Go on! 

GoTTSCHALK (reads). " Because you have usurped author- 
ity and made yourself a judge over God-chosen kings, 
yourself guilty of simony, — " 

[The murmur becomes louder; Gregory as before 
lifts up his hands.] 

GoTTSCHALK (reads). " Because you have ascended the 
Papal throne on which you are seated through bribery, 
cunning, and force — " 

Prefect, He shall read no farther! 

Hermann {with haughty contempt). Let him go on! 

All. No farther! 

Hermann. Let him read to the end, that you may know 
the man who calls himself the German King. 

Gregory {in a commanding voice). Be silent, all of you! 
Go on reading! 

Gottschalk {reads). "Because you have assumed the 
authority of a judge over the deeds and lives of others, 
you who yourself — " [He stops.] 

Gregory. You who yourself — ? 

GoTTSCHALK. " You who — who yourself — " 

Hermann. He 's afraid. Let me read ! \_Makes a move to 
seise the parchment.] 

Gregory. Gottschalk, go on reading. " You who your- 
self? " 

GoTTSCHAiiK {stammers as he reads). " Live in illicit rela- 
tions with another man's wife — " 

Prefect. Blasphemy I 

All. Blasphemy ! Blasphemy ! 

Gregory {rises from his chair). At the pain of punish- 
ment — [All are silent. To Gottschalk.] Go on 
reading ! 

Gottschalk {reads). " Therefore, be it known to you, 
Another shall be Pope in your place, a better one than 



KING HENRY 75 

you are! Therefore, I oommand you, Descend from 
your throne, which does not belong to you! Come 
down ! Come down ! ' ' 

Peefbct {throws himself upon Gottschalk, and wrests the 
parchment from his hand). And this you dare to read 
here in the presence of the holy Pope! 

All. Kill him! 

[They crowd tv/multuously upon Gottschalk.J 

GoTTSCHALK. Save me! [He throws himself upon his 
knees before Geegoey.] 

Gbegoey {rising). Your hands off this man! 

[They ail fall back.] 

Hebmann {presses forward toward Geegoey). Do you 
know him now? What sort of man he is? Is it still 
wrong that we caU upon you to assist us against him? 
Is it wrong? Is it wrong? 

Geegoey. Out of my sight ! An evil spirit is speaking these 
words in you! Henry! Sweet as a flower-bud you 
opened in the forests of your country! To see you in 
full blossom has been my great longing ! Henry, I pity 
you ! [He falls on the chair, and covers his eyes. A deep 
silence. Geegoej rises, takes from one of the choir 
boys who stand near him the burning taper that he 
holds in his hand, and lifts it high up.] Behold this 
light.: it is a symbol of the life of man; for life's flame 
emits sparks pure and impure. Good and evil dwelled 
in Henry. The flame of life burned; the wax melted; 
the dross remained. What he said against Gregory, 
Gregory, the man, forgives Henry, the man; what he 
said against the head of the holy Church, for that let 
Henry be cursed! [There is a pause.] 1 forbid the 
Christians of the world to serve him as their King; 
and release them from the oath they have sworn. 
Darkness revolting against light, return to night! 
[He blows the light out.] Wave revolting against 
the mighty ocean, return to naught ! [He throws the 
taper to the ground.] No bell shall ring in the city 



76 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

where Henry dwells, no cMrch be opened, no sacra- 
ment administered; for where he dwells, death shall 
dwell ! Let my envoys go forth, and proclaim my mes- 
sage to all the world ! 

Hebmann. Here stand your envoys: we are your mes- 
sengers. [Taking the taper from the ground.'] And 
this taper we shall carry before us as a symbol of 
authority ! 

Hugo. Return the taper, the consecrated taper: you 
should not hold it in your hand ! 

Heemann, No man shall take it from me ! Ten thousand 
spiked bludgeons shall avail naught against it! I 
thank you, great Pope ! 

EcKBEBT and Henby von der Nobdmaek. God bless you! 
We thank you! 

Geegoby. I've dispensed justice! Your hatred was not 
in my heart! 

Heemakn. We know that; yet it alters nothing! Turn 
us away ten times, we will return twenty times ! We 
pursued him with our hatred ; we will pursue you with 
our fervent petition, until we see you where you ought 
to be ! The hour has arrived ! Come to Germany ! 

EcKBEBT. Come to Germany! 

Henby von dee Nobdmaek. Come to Germany! 

Hebmann. Complete the work you've begun today! He 
who would kill a dragon must not only crush his head 
but cut off his tail also ! Come to Germany ! There is 
your true home ! Another king we '11 choose ; you shall 
confirm this choice; you shall put a crown upon his 
head! You shall be the one who crowns Germany's 
kings and dethrones them! You shall be the King of 
Germany 's kings ! In your hands shall be our destiny ! 
At your feet, the whole of Germany, her strength and 
power! You have been Lord over the souls of men, 
you shall, from now, be Lord over their bodies as well 
as their souls. Ruler over the whole world! 



KING HENEY 77 

Hugo. Listen to me, Gregory ! Listen to me, Gregory 1 

Hebmann. Don't listen to this babbling monk! 

Hugo. It's the voice of the tempter that is speaking to 
you! 

Hermann. It's the world that is calling yon, — the world 
weary of the caprice of kings, weary of a reign by 
inheritance! We want a judgment seat, before which 
we can bring complaints against our kings; and this 
seat shall be here, in your Church, in the Church of 
Rome! We want a man who can chastise our kings 
for their caprices; you shall be this man, — you. 
Bishop of all bishops, — you, the Pope, — you, Euler 
of the world ! 

Pbbfect. Listen to what this German says ! [He throws 
himself before Gregory.] Rise, great Pope, seize the 
reins of the world! 

Priests and People {crowding ecstatically about Gregory, 
they throw themselves upon their knees). Be Ruler of 
the world ! Ruler of the world ! 

Gregory {stands stately erect, deathly pale, his whole 
hearing shows deepest emotion; he raises his right 
hand): Silence! {The commotion stops; there is a 
deep silence.] He whose voice is heard in man's des- 
tiny, God the Almighty, is among us ! Let no one dis- 
turb the peace of my spirit, let your lips be sealed, that 
I may hear God speaking within me! 

\_As he is thus standing, in solemn attitude, his right 
hand raised, every one kneeling in silence about 
him, the curtain falls.] 



78 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 



Scene II 

In Worms. A large, sombre room. At the back, a large door which leads 
to the square outside; this door is open. On the right, a small, closed 
door. On the left, a large fireplace, in which the fire, a wood fire, is 
about to go out; near the fireplace, two chairs. Against the back wall 
a wooden bench; over this bench two narrow windows. From the ceiling 
of the room is suspended a low-burning, smoky light. It is a late hour 
of an afternoon in winter, almost dark. When the curtain rises, the 
stage is empty. 

King Henry enters from the rear. He is dressed in hunting costume, 
covered with snow. In one hand, he carries a hunting spear, in the other 
a dead fox. 

Henry {lifting the fox high up, speaking to it). You 
reckoned without your host, red skin, eh? You thought, 
' ' Today is Chris.tmas, no man will hurt me, for today 
is, peace on earth," didn't you? Well, the hunter 
knew nothing about that! Lie there! You — [He 
throws Ms booty on the floor in front of the fireplace; 
stands in front of the animal lost in thought.] Sly- 
head! Simpleton! "If I sneak over the frozen 
Rhine," you thought, "he can't get after me," eh? 
You thought, " The Rhine won't hold up the cursed 
man, the excommunicated man," didn't youf You 
thought, " The ice wUl hurst open beneath hhn, and the 
flood will swallow him. ' ' — [He hurls the spear to the 
ground.] Father Rhine, would you had done this! 
I'd now be dead, instead of being buried alive! This 
whole world would exist for me no longer ! {He takes 
the fur cap from his head, shakes the snow from it, 
and throws it on the bench. He walks up and down.] 
Not a human voice ! Not a human face ! [He pricks 
up his ears and listens.] Hark! That sounds like 
man ! [He goes to the door on the right, opens it half 
wag and listens; we hear in the distance the plaintive 
voice of a child.] The cry of a child ! [Lost in gloomy 
thoughts.] We all have once lain in a cradle. I 
wonder whether I too cried like that? I suppose so, 



KING HENEY 79 

for, if I am not mistaken, it's my own flesh and blood 
that's crying! [He shuts the door with a bang.] 
Wretched thing! Why do you pierce my ear with your 
sharp voice 1 I can't help you ! [Throws his arms up.] 
If I can't be king, I am no longer man. If no longer 
man, how can I be father? 

[He seats himself on the bench, his arm on the 
window sill, his head leaning upon his hand.] 

er Queen Bertha from the rear. Dressed in a long, dark mantle, 
eeing Henry, she stops on the threshold. She lifts up her hands and 
resses them against her heart, like one who, having suffered great 
<igmsh, thanks God to have been freed from it. She disappears again 
\ the rear, returns soort,, however, with some sticks of wood in her 
'ms. With these she goes to the fireplace, and throws them on the 
nbers. All this takes place behind Henry's back. 

NBY (^without changing his position). Well, sure enough, 
there 're still some servants willing to wait on me ! — 
My girl, what about your soul? Aren't you a little 
afraid to serve an excommunicated king? 

[Bertha continues her labor in silence. There is a 
pause.] 
NBY (throws a furtive glance at her without recognising 
her). She's deaf, so it seems. To answer, to speak 
to him, may be dangerous, is it that? Very weU, stir 
the fire; you're right, it's cold. And bring a light, 
it's dark; that I can read a penitential psahn, or some- 
thing else that is spiritual. 

[He rises with an angry laugh. At the same moment, 

Bebtha has also risen, and has withdrawn quicldy 

through the rear. Hbnby steps to the fireplace 

and stares into the fire. Bebtha returns from the 

rear, carrying a candlestick with burning candles.] 

NBY {he turns toward her. Bebtha stands, her eyes on 

the ground). You — was it you? [He goes to her and 

takes the candlestick from her.] I beg your pardon. 

rtha (with pale lips — in a low voice). For what? 



80 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Henby (placing the candlestick on the mantel). Because 

I took you for a servant. 
Behtha. You — you did not recognize me? 
Henky (mth a scornful look at her appearance). In this 

apparel — how could I? 
Bbbtha (attempting to laugh). It did not trouble me. 
Henry (with a quick motion). It must have troubled you! 

A queen mistaken for a servant! [He turns away, 

and walks up and down. Beetha remains in the same 

position.] How ]iumble. Going to be so always? 

[Approaches her suddenly.} Or think you I am no 

longer King? Is that it? And you no longer Queen? 
Beetha (frightened, she lifts her hands instinctively, as 

though to ward off something). Don't — ! 
Heney (steps back and looks with blank astonishment into 

her eyes). What does this mean? 

[Beetha makes an attempt to speak; her mouth 
twitches, but she is unable to say a word.] 
Henby. Yon — you are afraid? 
Beetha (still unable to speak, shakes her head, then speaks 

with difficulty). No! [Pause. Heney looks quietly 

into her face.] Not any longer. I was afraid — 
Heney. You were afraid? Wby? 
Beetha. When I was out — in the Chapel of Our Lady, 

outside of the walls of the city — 
Heney. You were outside of the walls of the city? Why? 
Beetha. Because — because the churches within the city— 

you won't be angry — 
Heney. All right, I understand. Well, then, when you 

were out there? 
Beetha. I saw, on the ice of the Rhine, in the centre of the 

stream — 
Heney. And you thought he would break through the ice 

and drown in the stream? 

[Beetha drops her head, remaining sUent.] 
Heney. And that man was I? 

[Beetha nods in silence.] 



KING HENRY 81 

!NEY. And if it had happened, would it not have been 

better for you and me ? 
iRTHA. Oh! [Overcome with pain, she quichly places 

her hands over her eyes, and weeps despairingly.] 
3NEY {withdraws slowly from her toward the hack of the 

stage. He stares at her with almost terrified eyes, 

speaking to himself). Does — does she weep for me? 

[Pause. Henby approaches her.] Bertha! 
iETHA {forgetting herself, she throws herself into his 

arms). Oh! Oh! Oh! [She lies sobbing onhishosom.] 
iiNEY {cold, without embracing her). Don't weep. 
iETHA. I — I can hold out no longer ! I — I can hold out 

no longer ! 
JUTKY. You can't bear it any longer, here, with me? I 

understand that. It's much better you leave me, and 

go with your boy down to Turin, to your mother. No 

church is closed to you there; no priest denies you 

sacrament. All you need and can't get here, you'll 

find there. [Pause.] Will you go? 
5ETHA {looks up into his eyes). Do you command me 

to go? 
3NEY {freeing himself angrily from her). Command? 

Do you need always some one to command you? 
5ETHA {with a sudden light in her eyes). Maybe you wiU 

go with me? \ 

3NEY. To your mother? To eat the bread of charity 

with her? To flee from my enemy? To run away 

from Germany? To be a king who deserts his country? 

Remember it's a king to whom you make this proposal ! 

[He walks up and down in wild excitement, then stops 

again before Beetha.] Now, how is it — will you go? 
5ETHA {softly). No. 

5NEY. No ? 

JETHA {twisting nervously the kerchief she holds in her 

hands). Because I — 
3NEY. Because you? — 
Vol. XVII— 6 



82 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Bebtha. Because you— you are so unhappy! [She 
stretches her arms toward him.] 

Henry (startled). I don't want your pity! 

Beetha {dries her eyes hastily). I've stopped weeping 
already — forgive. 

Henry ( to himself) . And she asks my forgiveness. \_Pause. 

Motioning with his head toward the door on the right.] 

The boy is crying. See what's the matter with him. 

[Bertha talces a candle from the candlestick, a/nd 

leaves on the right. Henry takes a seat at the 

fireplace, and is lost in brooding thought. Bertha 

returns from the right, leading her little hoy, 

Konrad.] 

Henry. Why did he cry? 

Bertha (putting the candle into the candlestick). It was 
so dark and lonely in his room. 

Henry. It's Christmas today. Have you nothing for him? 

Bertha. In^ — in the city — 

Henry. In the city — ? 

Bertha. They won't sell us anything. 

[There is a pause.] 

Henry. Come here, boy ! [He puts out his hand; Konkad 
clings to his mother.] 

Bertha. He's afraid. 

Henry (looking gloomily at the boy). I see that. [He 
turns his face back to the fire.] 

Bertha (to Konrad, softly, in a quiet tone). Come — come. 
[She goes with him to the bench, where they seat them- 
selves.] You are with your mother; don't weep. Do 
you feel cold ? "Wait ; I'U give you my mantle. [Takes 
off her mantle and wraps it around the boy. She is 
now vn a white dress. Bending over her child and 
speaking caressingly and softly to him, she is not aware 
that Henry is looking gloomily upon the group.] 

Henry. As you look now, in your white dress, I should 
not have taken you for a servant. [A pause. Bertha 's 



KING HENRY 83 

eyes are on the grownd.'] Why do you sit over there 
on the hard bench, in the cold? 

Bektha. It isn't cold. 

Henry {rises). Indeed, it is cold. Come here, with the 
boy, and sit down near the warm fire. 

[Bebtha rises with Konbad to go over to the fire- 
place.] 

Hbney {steps toward her, while both are crossing the stage, 
and takes hold of the hoy. The hoy clings to his mother 
with a cry: ' * Mother! "). I won 't hurt you. Don't you 
know that I am your father? [Holds the hoy's head in 
his hands.] But the mother is better than the father, 
isn 't she ? [He lets the hoy go, and turns abruptly away 
from him.] You're right! You're right! [He stands, 
hiting his lips, in front of the stage. Bebtha seats her- 
self on a chair near the fireplace, draws the other chair 
toward her, and puts the boy on it. Henby suddenly 
turns, goes to Bebtha, and holds her head in his arms.] 
She is better than he is — she 's good ! [He kisses her 
head.] 

Bebtha {takes his hand, and looks up at him). Henry — ! 

Henby {places his hand over her eyes). Be still! You're 
right to be good to him. I know what it means to be 
deprived of a mother's love! [He rushes from her, 
and seizes madly his hair.] 1 know it! 

[Henby returns to the boy, lays his hands on his 
head, and bends the child's face over toward him.] 

Henby. They say he resembles me ? 

Bektha {with a light in her eyes). He's a perfect picture 
of you. 

Henby {takes hold of the hoy, and, paying no attention to 
his struggles, lifts him up in his arms). Change your 
face! There was a time when your father had also 
bright eyes, and young, sweet blood in his veins ! Don 't 
take after him! I warn you! Be wise! There was 
a time when he had blissful dreams, and faith in man, 
and love for God! But now? Poison is in his veins. 



84 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

desolation in his heart! \_He puts the hoy downJ] 
Don't tell anybody whose son you are! Don't say it 
even to yourself! [He pushes him away back to his 
mother.] Return to the source of life! Imagine a 
woman gave birth to you who had never known a man ! 
Don't take after your father! Sit down in a quiet 
corner, hide yourself there, that you may not be found 
when fate is looking for Henry's descendants! Don't 
become like your father! Not like him! No: not! 
If you do, you will one day be what he is now, aban- 
doned by God, a monster in the eyes of men, a source 
of unrest in the midst of their peace, a spirit of evil 
in their cities and in their homes! [He approaches 
Beetha, and takes hold of her shoulders.'] And you 
mean to stay with such a one? Bear up with such 
a one ? That 's what you want to do ? Can do f What 
is it that gives you such a power? 

Bebtha {looks at him with. big eyes). I am your wife. 

Hbney. My wife? Is it because, in time past, when you 
were five years old, you put your hand in mine, and 
promised me, as you were told to do, to be my wife! 
Is it that? Therefore you can do it? From obedience? 
Has obedience ruled you these twenty years? Is that 
the source of your strength? 

Bertha, No: not that. 

Heney {reading her lips). What then! 

Bebtha. Because — because I love you. 

He^ry {startled). Because — you — ? 

Bertha. Because I love you as I did on the first day, and 
will love you on the last, always, ever and ever. 

Heney {throwing up his arms). There must indeed be a 
God in a world in which such a being lives ! [He falls 
to the ground before her like a felled tree; he folds her 
in his arms, and lays his head in her lap.] Bertha! 
My wife ! 

Bebtha {bending far over him). Henry! My Henry! 
We were so close to one another, yet could not find each 
other; we were obliged, this long time, to walk apart! 



KING HENEY 85 

Henby. You did not ! You did not ! Blessings on you 
and curses on me ! What a fool I was ! Fool ! Like 
a child I despised my own happiness! For years I 
was blessed with riches and did not know it ! A life- 
giving drink before me, my languishing lips rejected 
it rudely! For years — for years! For years I've 
groped in error and delusion! Oh, for my lost hap- 
piness! Oh, for my life! My lost life! 

Beetha. "We have found each other ! Henry, my husband, 
my beloved ! Could this meeting ever be to us such a 
joy, if we had not been parted so long! 

Henry. You were not parted from me — you were not! 
You did not! Like the beating heart in my bosom, 
forever beating though I did not know it, you were 
always with me. But I? I scorned your tears! 
Rejected your proffered hand! Treated you like a 
scoundrel! Like a mean wretch — mean wretch! 

[He sobs, bending over her lap.} 

Beetha {dries his eyes with her kerchief). Oh, Henry — 
your first tears ! What a joyous Christmas, God has 
given me ! 

Heney. Misery is about you ! Darkness, sorrow, contempt ! 

Beetha, Joy is in my heart, all the riches and blessings of 
this world! 

Henby (presses her to him, covers her face with kisses). 
You are more than merely good ! Oh, you — Oh, you — 

A group of children enter from the rear. They wear fur jackets and caps; 
they carry Christmas trees with burning candles, and bags of nuts and 
apples. When they arrive at the entrance, they stop; they are em- 
barrassed as though they did not know what to do. 

KoNEAD (has jumped from his chair). Mother! Trees! 
Lights ! Mother, see ! Mother, see ! 

[Beetha and Heney look with speechless astonish- 
ment at the children.] 
Beetha. Children — whom do you seek? 



86 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

A Little Gibl {advancing). We are here to find the poor 

little prince — [Turnmg to Konbad.] Are you the 

poor little prince? 
Bertha (drawing the little girl to her). What have you 

for him? 
A Little Girl. We bring apples and nuts, because the 

poor little prince has no Christmas, and because the 

poor little prince should have a Christmas. 
A Little Boy (coming closer, producing a little horse 

carved out of wood). A little horse — too. 
KoNRAD (pointing to the horse). Mother! A little horse! 

Mother, see! 
A Little Boy (gives him the horse). That you may have 

something to play with, poor little prince. 
All the Children (crowding about him). Here! Take 

this ! Take this ! 

[Thei/ put apples and nuts into little Konbad 's hands.] 
Henry (has jumped from his seat). Is this a dream? 
Bertha (has also risen. Has her arm about Henby, and 

looks happily upon the group of children) . See, Henry, 

our child ! 
Henby (taking the little girl by the chin). Who sends you, 

children? 
The Little Girl. Our parents sent us. 
Henby. Your parents? [fl^e looks up; his eyes are turned 

toward the rear.] 

Lambert, Giozzo, Gozzelin have, in the meantime, appeared in the rear. 
They stop and talk to one another; then they take off their fur caps, and 
enter. They take a place behind their children. 

Henby (sinks on the chair). There are men. They are — 

they are from Worms. 
Lambebt. That's what we are. 
Henry. And these are your children? 
Gozzo. Yes : our children. 

[A pause. The three men stand, a little embar- 
rassed, their hands on the heads of their children, 
who are clinging to them.] 



KING HENRY , 87 

Henry {rising slowly). Your city has become poor and 
wretclied because of me. Your cburches are closed 
and their chimes are no longer heard because I live 
Avith you. People turn away from the walls of your 
city, and you — you sent your children to my child? 

Lambert. It's all true what you say, but — [He becomes 
silent, and exchanges glances with Gozzo and Goz- 

ZELIN.] 

Gozzo (breaking the silence). But we love you nevertheless ! 
GozzELiN. Yes, King Henry ! We love you nevertheless ! 
Henry (covering his face with his hands). Germany! My 

native country ! My native coimtry ! Thine own true 

heart I've never known! [He sinks on his knees.'] 

My God! I lost thee; and now, in this hour of the 

night, have found thee again in the bosom of man! 

My God, let me be a true King to my people ! 
Lambert Rise, King Henry ! 
GozzELiN. My dear King, rise ! 
Gozzo. You are our King! 
Henry (rises, holds out his hands to them). My people! 

My people! 
Gozzo. Let me speak,. King Henry. The princes of the 

empire are putting their heads together — they want 

another king in your stead. 
Lambert. They want to have Rudolph for their king. 
GozzELiN. The Duke of Suabia. 
Henry (meditatingly) . Who knows — Rudolph is not a 

bad man. 
Gozzo. But we will not have him ! For you have a heart 

for the common man ! They know that, therefore they 

do not want you! We know it also, and because we 

know it, we love you ! 
Lambert. You, King Henry, shall be our king. 
GozzELiN. None other but you. 
Gozzo. Do not think that this is the opinion of Worms 

only. Go up and down the Rhine, all the dties along 

its banks think as we do. 



88 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Lambert. Wherever you may knock, you will find an open 
door. 

Gozzo. And when springtime comes, we want you to lead 
the armies of our cities. We want you to attack these 
princes and lords. And then — then we'll see! 

Henby (lost in hroodmg thought). Then we'll see — what! 
Battles? 

Gozzo. Yes : like the battle on the Unstrut ! 

Henry. Where the horses waded through Grerman blood! 
[^Strikes his forehead with his hands.'] Yes, now I see 
the truth. I am indeed cursed ! 

Gk)zzo. To serve God — 

Henry. Into murder, blood, and revenge my enemies 
plunged me. Now my friends come, and incite me 
again to murder, blood, and revenge. The German 
peasants must again search for food in their forests, 
and scratch the bark from the trees to feed their starv- 
ing children! The German women must again spend 
sleepless nights, and weep, and utter curses on King 
Henry, who killed their husbands and sons ! \He falls 
on his knees.] My God! If it be true that Thou canst 
do what Thou willst, and that Thou willst the good, 
then free me from this bloody pool of corruption! 
Show me a way out, my God ! A way out ! A way out ! 
[He is kneeling at the chair, his arms on the chair, his 
face on his arms. An embarrassing pause.] 

Bertha {feeling her way — in an undertone). Henry! — 
[Henry remains in the former positiort.] 

Bertha. When I went into the room to see our child, a 
moment ago, the light I had in my hand cast my shadow 
upon him ; he was frightened and cried, till he saw that 
the shadow was made by his mother. Then he became 
quiet, and stopped crying. [Approaching Henry, she 
puts her hand on his head.] May I go on, Henry? 

Henry (as before). Speak. 

Bertha. You see, Henry, a shadow rests on you and on 
the world. It is the curse which the Pope in Rome 



KING HENRY 89 

pronounced against you. [Bends still farther over 
him.] Shall we continue to live in this shadow? 
[During these last words she has fallen on her knees, 
so that she is now kneeling hy the side of Heney ; she 
has thrown her arms about him, her mouth is close to 
his ear, her words become a fervent, passionate whis- 
per.] It is Grod's holy vicar that is angry with us ; and 
his anger is just. May I go on speaking, Henry? 

Hbnky (as before). Go on. 

Bebtha. Therefore, Henry, you see the shadow only, not 
the man that casts the shadow. When we were chil- 
dren, you and I — you remember? It was at your 
father's court at Goslar. He held your hand in his; 
he looked kind and great — and holy — you remember, 
Henry? 

Henry (as before). Go on. 

Bebtha. Suppose you should offer him your hand — 
should open your heart to him; suppose you — you said 
[she comes nearer and nearer to him] — Oh, Henry ! 
Would — would it not be the best thing? Would it not 
be the right thing, Henry? Suppose he should press 
you to his heart, to his big, holy heart, and you should 
receive forgiveness in place of his curse, and peace in 
place of 'his anger, and joy in place of all this misery 
which we can bear no longer, — would it not be the best 
thing, Henry? Would it not be much better than all 
we are now bearing? 

Heney (lifts up his head, rises, and looks at Bebtha, who 
is still kneeling). Why do you kneel on the ground, 
you who should dwell where God's holy angels dweU? 
[He lifts her up, embraces her, tears stream from his 
eyes.] You opened my blind eyes to see the light ! Oh, 
Bertha ! My wife ! [He puts her away gently, hold- 
ing out both hands.] Men of Worms, you mean it 
well; but I must not be Germany's destroying fire- 
brand, but its light. Give me your hands, tomorrow 
I'll go forth from here, — a long, long way. 



90 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Grozzo. Where will you go? 

Henry. Where I '11 find what I need, — a great man. I am 
going to Pope Gregory. 

Gozzo. You can't do this. 

Henby. An hour ago I could not have done it, for then I 
should have gone to him as a beggar. Now, that I feel 
myself again a king, now I can do it, now I wiU do it,— 
now, of my own accord, I'll leave behind the wrong, 
and seek the right. [There is a pause.] 

Gozzo. In the middle of the winter? 

Lambert. Across the Alps? In ice and snow? 

Bertha {rushes to Henry, cmd throws both of her arms 
about his neck). Why agitate his soul, why darken 
with doubt the light God has kindled? No abyss will 
engulf him. His footing will be sure on ice and snow. 
The Almighty will watch over him, and by his side will 
be his wife ! 

[Henry presses her to hvtn in sUence.] 

Gozzo (steps among the children, and pushes them toward 
Henry). Come here, children, look at him ! You may 
not see him agaiu. This is your King Henry. [To 
Henry.] We'll pray for you, King Henry, when you 
set out on your long journey. 

Lambert and Gozzelin. We'll pray for you. 

Gozzo. For it's true, I feel it, if you can accomplish what 
you've planned, you'll do a great thing for Germany. 

Henry {slowly and solemnly). Men of Worms — you have 
given me back my faith in mankind ! Should the voice 
now speaking in my heart, — should that deceive me, 
the very earth on which we stand would no longer be 
secure. I leave behind me Germany's crown, and take 
with me Germany's misery and sorrow. I will humble 
myself before the Pope, and he will humble himself 
before Germany's great sorrow. He will open his 
arms to me ; and when spring is descending from the 
Alps, I will bring you what kings owe to their people — 
peace. 



KING HENRY 91 

ACT III 

Scene I 

A room in the castle of Canossa. The room is small. In the back wall a 
single window, somewhat sunk into the wall. Doors on the right and 
on the left. On the back wall a large crucifix. No other furnishing. 
An afternoon in winter. We see through the window, in the dAstwnce, 
snow-covered peaks. 

Pope Gregoet is seated on a chair near the middle of the stage. Abbot 
Hugo is standing behind him in the alcove of the window. , Bishop 
LiEMAB, RtTDOLPH of Suabia, Heemann Billung, Ecebert von 
Meissen, Henry von der Nobdkabk, are standing in front, on the right 
and left of Gregory's seat. 

Rudolph. All that Henry did not give you, refused to 
give you, I promise you. No bishop shall be ordained 
in Grermany by regal power; but shall be chosen by the 
people and the clergy, and confirmed by you. No 
priest, lawfully married, shall, from now on, be per- 
mitted to remain in oflSoe ; he shall be driven from his 
parish. 

Gkegoby (who has listened with bent head). You promise 
a great deal. 

Rudolph. I promise still more. The princes and the 
bishops have chosen me for their king; yet I promise 
you that I will not take the crown until you have first 
accepted me as king. We have arranged to convoke 
a diet at Augsburg; and there, if it be your wiU, I shall 
be crowned by you before all the people. 

\_There is a pause.] 

Geegoey {lost in thought). A great deal — a great deal — 

Rudolph. A great deal — but what I promise, I'll do. 

Geegoby (turning his face up suddenly, he looks Rudolph 
im the face). Can you give me surety for all you've 
promised? 

Rudolph. These German princes are my surety. 

Heemann, Eckbeet, Heney. We'll be surety. 

Geegoby. I don't mean that. 



92 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Rudolph (surprised). Because you spoke about surety — 
Gbegory. I need you yourself. Are you — a king? 
Rudolph. The princes and the clergy have chosen me. 
Gkegoey. So I've heard. But do you feel yourself a king, 

— in your own heart? 

Rudolph (becoming more confused). You mean — you 
mean — ? 

Gbbgoey (impatiently). Never mind! [Again lost im 
thought for a moment, then rising abruptly from his 
chair.'] Years ago when I was at Goslar, at his father's 
court, I became acquainted with him, with — with the 
other one. He was still a boy — but he took hold of 
my hand. {Holding out his hand to Rudolph.] Give 
me your hand. 

[Rudolph bows, and places his hand in that of 
Gregoey.] 

Gregoby (presses Rudolph's hand, as though to test it). 
Soft — 

Hermann (with a smile). He'll strike, you may be sure, 
when the time comes. 

Gregory (lets Rudolph's hand go, takes a step to the front 

— speaks to himself). That's no Henry! [A pause. 
Gregory turns again toward Rudolph; he approaches 
him, his eyes travel from Rudolph's face to the win- 
dow, and from the window again back to Rudolph's 
face.] What's this? Does it come from the snow 
outside — ? 

Rudolph. From — from the snow? What? 

Gregory. That white light on your face? You are pale. 

Rudolph. I — I'm pale? 

Gregory (his hand on Rudolph's shoulder). Can you kill 

dragons ? 
Rudolph. Whom do you mean? 
Gregory. Your friends there call Henry a dragon. Can 

you fight with him? 
Rudolph. If it needs be, — certainly. 
Gregory. If it needs be? How can it be otherwise! 



KING HENRY 93 

Rudolph. I shall fight with him. 

CtBEGOEY. Will you conquer him? 

Rudolph. So I hope. 

GrEBGORY. But you are not sure. 

Hermann. He '11 conquer him ; Rudolph is the best general 
in Germany. 

Rudolph. But no fight will be necessary. 

Gregory (surprised). No — no fight — ? 

Rudolph. Henry lost his support. 

LiEMAE. He has yet support. 

Hermann. Yes — he has you, who are in love with the 
fellow. There isn't anybody else, though. 

LiEMAR (vertf calmly). There are the cities. 

Hermann. Pshaw! This handful of cities! 

LiEMAR. The cities along the Rhine are powerful and rich. 

Rudolph. But the right is on our side. 

LiEMAB. Not yet. 

Hermann. Not yet? 

LiEMAE. You know it as well as I do. It's not a year yet 
since Henry's excommunication. 

EcKBERT. In a week the year will be over. 

LiEMAR. In a week, yes ; but if he, in that time, frees him- 
self from the ban of the Church, he'll be king again. 

Gregory. Who says that? 

LiEMAR. The German law. 

Gregory. Who can prove it? 

Hugo (imthout changing his position). I. 

[All faces turn toward him.] 

Gregory. You — know the law? 

Hugo (as before). Yes. 

[There is a pause.] 

Gregory (going to Liemar, he takes him by the hand, and 
draws him to the front, where he speaks to him in an 
undertone ) . Liemar — 

Liemar. Holy Pope? 

Gregory. You are Henry's friend. 

Liemar. I was his friend. 



94 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Geegoby. But you know him. If I release him from the 
ban, do you think Henry would give me what that man 
over there promises f 

LiEMAR. May I speak? 

Gregory. I want you to speak. 

LiEMAB. He will not do it. 

Gregory (withdrawing his hand abruptly). Then that man 
is the only choice! [He turns to Rudolph and the 
Saxons.l When is the diet of Augsburg to be? 

Hermann. At Easter time. 

Rudolph. And to convince you that our proceedings are 
lawful, we'll invite King Henry to be present; there 
he may defend himself. 

EcKBERT. It will not be necessary to invite him. Henry, 
according to all rumors, is dead. 

Gregory {turning abruptly). What did you say — ? 

EcKBERT. From Worms, where he still lived at Christmas- 
time, he suddenly disappeared. No one knows where 
he went. 

Gregory. And therefore — ? 

EcKBEET. Every day he went out hunting on the Rhine 
when the river wa s frozen. Suddenly the ice broke up — 

Gregory. And he drowned? 

EcKBERT. That's what people believe. 

Gregory. Why haven't you told this sooner? 

EcKBEBT. Because I haven't had the chance to speak. 

Hugo. It's well you did not speak. Henry is not dead! 
[All faces turn toward him.] 

Gregory. What do you know of him? 

Hugo. Henry has crossed the Alps — 

Gregory. Crossed the Alps? 

Hugo. He is in Italy. 

Hermann. What? 

EcKBERT. Where ? 

Rudolph. In Italy? 

Hugo. On his way here ; this very day he may be with us. 

[Great alarm.] 



KING HENRY 95 

Gbegoey (pointing toward the left). Leave me till I call 
you. Hugo, you — stay! 

[Rudolph, Hebmann, Eckbekt, Henby von deb 
NoEDMABK, LiEMAB, leave on the right.] 

Geegoey (walks excitedly up and down, then stops before 
Hugo). And aU this you knew? 

Hugo. I know still more. 

Geegoey. What? 

Hugo. When he descended from the Alps, the Lombards 
received him, many thousands. Their castles they've 
offered him — arms and gold. They've asked him to 
wage a war of revenge against you. 

Geegoey (almost speechless). All — all this you — you 
knew, and kept from me ? [Hugo looks silently into his 
face.] That he was marching, at the head of the army 
of the Lombards, against me, — that you knew, and kept 
from me ? 

Hugo (with a smile). If he were coming with the Lom- 
bards, do you really believe I should have kept it from 
you? If danger threatened you from him, Gregory, 
do you really believe I should not have warned you? 

Geegoey. What then — 

Hugo. He is coming without the Lombards. He has re- 
jected their offer. 

Geegoey. He's coming — alone? 

Hugo. Penitents travel alone; he is coming to do pen- 
ance. Those who seek peace travel without arms and 
army; he is coming to make peace. He is coming to 
seek you, Gregory, — will he find you? \_A pause.] 
Gregory, will he find you? 

Geegoey (turning to the crucifix on the back wall, he holds 
out both of his arms). Help me. Saviour! Counsel 
me! [He sinks down before the crucifix, embracing 
the feet of the figure. A pause.] 

Hugo. Raise your eyes and behold the Saviour's face: 
He moves his lips, He is speaking, do you hear what He 
is saying? [Geegoey instinctively lifts his head up to 



96 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

the face of the figure.] " My Kingdom is not of this 
world. ' ' 

Geegoey {rising quickly from the ground). You're allied 
with Henry! 

Hugo. As I am allied with every contrite iiuman soul. 

Geegoey. He means to get absolution by force ! He means 
to compel me to release him ! 

Hugo. If he meant to get it from you by force, he would 
come with the Lombards. He means to wrestle with 
you for it. Have you never wrestled with God in your 
prayer? 

Geegoey. And if — if I should grant it to him — 

Hugo. He 'd return from Canossa to his native country a 
purified king; and that country across the Alps, that 
whole, immense country, would lie on its knees, and 
thank the great Pope, who gave it peace. 

[We hear the blast of a trumpet behind the scene, 
coming from a distance.] 

Geegoey {pricking up his ears). Do you hear tbat? 

Hugo. I hear that some one asks admittance to the castle 
of Canossa. 

Geegoey {listening for a repetition of the sound). Who — 
who do you think — that is? 

Hugo. I think it's Henry, Emperor Henry's son. 

Geegoey {sinks on the chair). Why, terrible God, didst 
Thou put this on me ? Why on me? 

Hugo {ivith deep feeling). Gregory, why are you afraid? 
What troubles, what torments you? Think of Guslar, 
and the boy who at Goslar stood before you! You 
loved him at once for you recognized in his words the 
heart of a king. This boy, this same boy, is coming 
to you today. He went astray; from his own free will, 
he is now returning. You have seen him, that other 
one, who wants to be king in his stead. Gregory, you 
have the instinct for inborn greatness — which of the 
two is the born king? 

Geegoey {his head pressed in his hands). Oh God! A 



KING HENRY 97 

spark of Thy light! A word of Thy counsel! Thy 
voice ! 

Hugo. God's voice and His counsel are within you! Ask 
your own heart ! 

Geegoey {springing up). My heart? My heart? Ques- 
tions of destiny are not answered by the heart ! 

Hugo. They are, when one is a priest. 

Geegoey {walking up and down excitedly). They are not 
when one is a pope who is to establish a new order in 
the world. Do you mean to tell me who this Henry is ? 
Do you mean to acquaint me with this Rudolph, this 
pale-faced man? With those German peasants, those 
wood-dwellers, who goad him on to do the wrong, as 
you would goad on a horse to leap a ditch? Yes, — if I 
could take my ease on the soft pillows of sentiment ; — 
but I — No, — Henry does not belong to my world! 
Therefore, he must go ! 

Hugo. An evil monster is lurking back of your words ! 
What is that new order of which you are speaking? 
What do you call your world? 

Geegoey. The Church. 

Hugo. Have we no Church? 

Geegoey. No. What we called the Church, was no Church ! 
By the grace of the Emperor it lived. From now on, 
kings and emperofs shall go begging at her door; for 
the spirit shall rule over force, not force over spirit. 

Hugo. God created the Church to foster His own love; 
to give comfort and spiritual solace to the world. You, 
however, are seeking to rob her of this spiritual mean- 
ing, and clothe her with mundane power. 

Geegoey. I mean to bestow a new blessing on the world; 
to erect a new altar, a permanent altar, before which 
mankind may kneel ! 

Hugo. Let man kneel before the invisible God ! ' ' He who 
is poor in gold is rich in soul." Gregory — it was you 
who said these words — don't rob the Church of her 
soul! 

Vol. XVII— 7 



98 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Gbegoey. Is it to rob the Church of her soul when I give 
her a body? 

Hugo. Bodies are mortal. Don't change the immortal 
Church into one mortal ! 

Gregoby. "We'll know how to protect her. 

Hugo. By means of human bodies? With weapons and 
swords ? 

Gkegory. Why not with weapons and swords ? I mean to 
give Christendom a new mission, — to fight for the holy 
Church. 

Hugo. A new battle cry you will raise in this bloody world. 

Geegoby. What of it, if it be a good cry? Cursed be he 
who keeps his sword free from blood in a fight for a 
holy cause. 

Hugo. Is that the new mission? What gave refuge to the 
oppressed bleeding from the sword of the oppressor? 
The Church which had no swords. What gave refuge 
to the poor stricken down by the rich? The Church 
which had no gold. This was the Church in which we 
grew up, you and I; which we loved, you and I; the 
Mother of mankind, the kind, merciful Mother. This 
was the Bride of the Man of Nazareth, the poor Bride 
of the poor Man; poor as He was, chaste as He was, 
holy and immortal as He was. 

Gbegoby {pressing his hands to 'his ears). Dreamer! 
Dreamer! Dreamer! [He turns suddenly, rushes 
toward Hugo, kisses and embraces him.] Oh, Hugo! 
God be praised, that He put such men as you are in 
this wretched world ! Return to Clugny, to your flow- 
ers and trees, which are not any purer than your 
own soul. When Gregory is old and weary, he '11 come 
to you, to dream with you of this our Church. Now, 
however, he has no time to dream. He must create and 
build, and build now, in this hour ! 

Hugo. Create and build? What? 

Gbegoey. A judgment seat before which the peoples of 
the world can stand, and present their grievances 



KING HENRY 99 

against their kings. On this judgment seat -will sit 

the son of a poor man; the crowns of the mighty will 

roll in the dust at the feet of Hildebrand, the common 

man. 
Hugo. You will sit as judge; but your successors will 

dwell, as servants of -lust, in the golden house you built 

for them. 
Geegoey. I'm not responsible for my successors, but only 

for myself. I shall die; God will survive me, — to Him 

I leave my work. 
Hugo (pointing to the left). And to help you in this your 

work, you called these men? 
Geegory. Bring Henry over to my side, and I will chase 

these men away as you would chase beggars! 
Hugo. Henry is coming. 
Geegoey. He is not coming. 
Hugo. I tell you he is coming, I tell you that he is coming 

to humble himself. 
Geegoey. He'll humble himself as man, not as King. 

Henry cannot come. 
Hugo. Why not? 

Geegoey. Because he's a king by nature! 
Hugo. And therefore — 
Geegoey. Therefore he must be smitten to the ground, 

that from his body the Church may arise ! 
Hugo. You know him, you love him, you know that his foes 

are scoundrels, — and yet you mean to crush him? 
Geegoey. The cause demands it, he must be crus:hed. 
Hugo. But you are a human being, you cannot possibly 

wish to do this? 
Geegoey. The tool has no power to wish: it is made to 

serve. I am a tool in the hands of destiny. 
Hugo. Then destiny is the devil. 
Geegoey. Destiny is God. 
Hugo. And that is the God who commands you to found 

your new order with the help of robbers and traitors ? 



100 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Gkkgory. Who cares for the trowel when the house is 
built? Who cares for the means when the end is holy? 
Hugo {walks up to him, stamds before him with wide open 
eyes, and lifts up both of his arms, as though conjuring 
him). Monster! 
Gregory {returns his look, murmuring with quivering lips). 
Weakling ! 

[Behind the scenes, in greater proximity than before, 
we hear another trumpet call; also the sound of 
approaching steps, and a confusion of many 
voices.] 

The Prefect of Rome appears at the door on the right. 

Prefect. Holy Pope, — King Henry stands at the gates 
of Canossa! 

The door on the left opens quickly from outside. Rudolph, Hermann, 
EcKBERT, Henry, and Liemab appear at the door, where they remain 
in silent expectation. 

Prefect. Countess Matilda surrenders her authority as 

mistress of the castle to the holy Pope. Shall King 

Henry be admitted? 
Gregory {takes a step to the front, and is now standing vn, 

the middle of the stage. All eyes are directed on him 

' with breathless expectancy) . He shall not be admitted! 

Hermann, Eckbert, Henry von der Nordmark {bursting 

out at once). Ah! That's right! [The Prefect makes 

a move to withdraiv on the right.] 
Hugo {rushing toward the Prefect, holding him by the 

shoulder). Wait a moment! Ask him again before 

you go ! Ask him once more ! 
Prefect. Because the good Abbot commands me, I ask 

you once more, — shall King Henry be admitted? 
Hermann, Eckbert, Henry von der Nordmark {they rusli 

toward Gregory, fall on their knees, and take hold of 

the hem of his garment). Holy Pope! Great Pope! 



KING HENEY 101 

Gkegoky (freeing himself from them). Be gone! Leave 
me! All! All! — [He takes another half step toward 
the front, passes through a severe inner struggle, 
wrings his hands, strikes his forehead with his hands, 
then drops them, and straightens himself out.] No ! 

[J. deep silence.] 

Scene II 

Another, larger room in the castle of Canossa. In the hack wall two 
windows. Doors right and left. On the left, between door and footlights, 
a fireplace with burning fire. A few chairs along the back wall. A 
stone bench under the windows. A candlestick with burning candles, now 
almost burned down, is standing on the broad back of the bench. 

Gbegoet, wrapped in a fur coat, is seated in an arm-chair near the fire- 
place. The Prefect is standing behind the chair. Rudolph, Hermann, 
EcKBEBT, Henry von der Nordmaek, are standing, a silent group, at 
the door on the left. A servant in the door on the right. 

The Prefect motions to the servant; the latter extinguishes the lights, and 
draws back the curtains at the windows. 

Gregory {wholly absorbed, has been lost in brooding 

thought). Why have the lights been put out? 
Prefect. It is morning, holy Pope. 
Gregory {shivers as if in a chill). Stir up the fire. 
Prefect {with a look into the fireplace). It's been done 

already. 
Gregory {points to the floor of the room, on which we see 

the flickering red sun-light). The red on the floor — 

is this the sun? 
Prefect. It doesn't shine brightly today: winter mists 

conceal it. 
Gregory. Is it stUl cold? 
Prefect. It's very cold. 
Gregory. Snow? 

Prefect. A fresh snow has fallen over night. 
Gregory {rises slowly, with the feebleness of an aged man; 

he stands at the chair, his hand before his eyes to 

shield them from the sun). And — out there — that 

man — is he still standing? 



102 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Pkefbct {steps to one of the windows). King Henry is 

still standing at the gate. If you wish to see him— 
Geegoey {turns his face away from the windows). I will 
not see him. [He supports both of his hands on the 
back of the seat.] 

[The servant steps to the Prefect, whispers some- 
thing to him, and leaves on the right.] 
Prefect. Countess Matilda wishes to know, whether you 

will take some food and drink? 
Gebgoet {without changing his position). No. 
Prefect. You have had no nourishment for two days, no 

sleep for three nights. 
Gregory {as before). I will not! I cannot! [There is a 
pause. Geegoey lifts up his face, and looks searchingly 
about.] Hugo not here? Where's Hugo, the Abbot? 
[The Prefect look silently out of the window.] 
Gregory. Below there? 
Prefect. Indeed. [A pause.] 
Gregory. Where's the Bishop of Bremen? 

[The Prefect looks as before out of the window.] 
Gregory. Also with him? 

[The Prefect makes a silent bow. Gregory walks 

slowly around the chair, and sinks again into it.] 

Prefect. Countess Matilda wishes to know, whether you 

are ready to receive her. 
GEEGORt. What does the Countess want? 
Prefect. I don't know. 
Gregory. She may come. 

[The Prefect leaves on the right. The door remains 
open.] 

Empress Agnes, in penitential garb, enters from the right with weary 
step. Countess Matilda and Queen Bertha are by her side, supporting 
her. 

Gregory {rising quickly). Emperor Henry's wife! 
Agnes {stops, her eyes fixed on Gregory with a piercing 
look. Her lips tremble, then she utters an almost in- 



KING HENRY 103 

articulate cry). Am I? You know me? Do you? 
iShe staggers.^ 

GrEEGORY (o choir for her. The Prefect moves a chair to- 
ward her. She sinks heavily upon it). You are tired. 

Agnes. Very tired. 

Gbegoey. Where do you come from? 

Agnes. From my cell in Rome. 

Geegory. When did you arrive? 

Agnes. This night. [There is a pause.] 

Gregory. Why do you come here? 

Agnes {lifts up her head, her eyes take on the piercing look 
of a moment ago, then starts suddenly from- her chair 
in the direction of Qb.^gob.y) . Why — ? 

Gregory {looking at her terrified, he falls back one step). 
Come — come to yourself. 

Bertha (trying to quiet Agnes). Be calm! Be calm! 

Agnes {pushing Bertha from her, she remains in the mid- 
dle of the stage, opposite Gregory). I've suffered 
every pain known to woman. I've had a child, yet it 
was not mine. I've prayed to God that He might take 
me; yet was afraid to go to Him, because I knew that 
with Him I'd not find my child. I've heard that my 
son Henry, of his own free will, turned from sin to 
repentance and penance. I've come, facing winter and 
night, that he, who was lost to me a whole life, might 
now be mine if only for one hour. And there — stands 
a man who tells me that I shall never hold him in my 
arms; that my child shall be denied God's grace in 
spite of repentance and penance. [She points with her 
finger to Gregory.] And the man who says this is the 
one in whom I believed as I believed in God! [She 
comes closer to him.] Who are you to leave Emi)eror 
Henry's son standing at your door like a dog? Who 
are you to deny eternal blessedness to my child? 

Gregory. Come to yourself! Come to yourself! 

Agnes {her whole body trembling). Give me back my 
child 's right to eternal blessedness ! 



104 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Gregory (withdrawing still farther). Listen to me! 

Agnes (shrieking). Give me back my child's right to eter- 
nal blessedness! 

Gregory (places his arms on the back of the chair behind 
which he stands, a/nd lays his face on his arms). The 
whole world is in revolt and sends this mother to fight 
against me! Prefect, go down! Let the gates be 
opened to Henry, Emperor Henry's son! [Whispers 
and a commotion throughout the room. The Prefect 
leaves hastily on the right.] 

Bertha (to Agnes). Mother, be quiet now: you will see 
him. ■ [Bertha pom^s to the right.] There, over that 
threshold he will step, there he will enter, your Henry, 
my Henry, your son! 

The Prefect and two servants enter hastily from the right. The Prefect 
moves quickly the chair bach on which Agnes was seated, so that the 
entrance from the right becomes free. The two servants remain on the 
right and the left of the door, holding back the curtain on both sides. 

Prefect (while moving the chair). King Henry is coming! 
[Gregory is standing behind his chair, his eyes 
turned toward the right. The Saxons are in a 
state of rigid tension. Bertha and Math,da put 
their arms about Agnes and lead her to the rear. 
A breathless expectancy prevails.] 

King Henry enters from the right, slowly, and with heavy step. He is 
in armor, without sword; over his armor, he wears a penitential cowl 
made of hair. His head is bare; in his brown hair, which hangs down 
dishevelled, there is snow. His eyes are deeply sunken; his face deathly 
pale. Abbot Hugo and Bishop Libmar follow him. After they have 
entered, the two servants let the curtain fall, leave, and close the door 
behind them. 

Henry (has advanced to the middle of the stage, his eyes 

. fixed on Gregory, looking neither to the right nor to 

the left, nor seeing anything else. Then stops, and 

makes a move to kneel down. We perceive that this is 

not easy for him to do, since his limbs have become 




Permission Photographische Union, Munich 

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT 



Fritz von Uhde 



KING HENRY 105 

stiffened with cold. He turns a little toward Hugo 
and Liemab). My knees and limbs are stiffened with 
cold — help me. {Abbot Hugo and Bishop Liemab 
take a position on his right and left; King Henby 
places his arms on their shoulders, and, thus supported 
by them, lets himself down on his knees. His eyes 
remain immovably fixed on Geegoby.J I, Henry, King 
of the Germans, confess myself guilty in the sight of 
God for having insulted you, His vicar, with slander- 
ous, degrading words. I confess myself guilty in the 
sight of mankind for having rewarded with ingratitude 
the most faithful of hearts, for having been faithless 
to my wife. I confess myself guilty in the sight of 
nature for having risen in enmity against my own 
mother. Three times I have deserved death. Three 
days and three nights you have kept me standing in my 
repentance. [He bends his head.'] I acknowledge — 
[He stops abruptly.] I acknowledge that the penance 
you put upon me was righteous. 

[A deep silence prevails. Bebtha has pressed her 
head on Agnes' bosom,; we can hear suppressed 
sobs.] 

Gregoey {has stood immovable during King Henby's con- 
fession. We see in his features the strong emotion 
which Henby's words have awakened. He now moves 
slowly two steps toward him, then stops). Yes, — here 
is indeed the King! [Overcome by his emotion he 
opens both of his arms.] Henry! Henry! Henry! 
[He rushes toward Heney, clasps both of his arms 
about his neck, and presses his face against his head; 
tears stream from his eyes.] 

Henby {without moving, with bowed head). Don't kiss 
the head on which the curse still rests. 

Geegoey {placing his hand on Henby's head). This hand 
has put it upon you; this hand shall take it away; be 
no longer cursed. 

Henby {opens both of his arms, lifts up his face, and 



106 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

embraces Gregoky). Oh! — [He kisses him, then 
rises; his eyes fall upon Agnes.] Mother! 

Agnes (falls into his arms). My child! My child! My 
child! 

Henry. I've been your son so many years; so many years 
were needed for me to learn how to pronounce the 
holy word, — mother. 

Agnes It is late, — not too late ; I shall now be able to tell 
your father that I have heard it from your lips. 

Henry {clinging to her). It is not yet time for you to die. 

Agnes. My last hour has come ; there is nothing more to 
come after this hour. [She falls upon his bosom. 
Upon a motion of Henry, the chair is moved to the 
front; he places her gently upon it. Matilda and 
Bertha go to her; Bertha kneels before her.] Stay 
with me. My eyes are growing dark. [She reaches 
out her hand, Henry takes her hand in his.'] What 
shall I tell Emperor Henry from his son? 

Henry. Tell him, his son Henry had many enemies; but 
since he overcame the worst of them all, Henry him- 
self, he has none other to fear. Tell him, he had also 
friends. [He offers his right hand to Hugo, the 
Abbot.] Hugo, my friend! [He offers his left hand 
to Bishop LiEMAR.] Liemar, my faithful one! [His 
eyes fall upon Rudolph of Suabia, and on the Saxons; 
seeing them, he lets go the hands of Hugo and of 
Liemar, and advances a step.] And there — Rudolph, 
you? And with you — those others? [He advances 
another step toward the group, and offers them his 
hands.] Does this mean reconciliation? [He turns to 
Gregory, who, in the meantime, has withdrawn nearly 
to the back wall, and is standing there between Henry 
and the group of the Saxons.] Pope Gregory — that's 
your work? 

Gregory. The princes of your country have come to me, 
and I have heard them. You will promise them safe 
conduct back to Germany? 



KING HENEY 107 

Hbney. I — promise them safe conduct — ? They shall 
go back with me; and when we, hand in hand, shall 
descend the Alps, the church bells of Grermany will 
ring of their own accord, her fields will bear new fruit, 
and peace will be throughout the land. Rudolph, why 
do you stay there! Come to me — 

Hermann". Not yet. 

EcKBBET. The holy Pope must first decide. 

Henry. What? 

Hermann {bursting out rudely). Which of you shall be 
king in Germany. 

Henry {uttering a low cry). Ah — [With a sudden start 
he straightens himself; a new vigor transforms him.'] 

Hermann. For Rudolph shall be our king! Not you! 

EcKBERT. We have chosen Rudolph in your place. 

Henry {stands motionless, then turns slowly his face to- 
ward Gregory). Why — they didn't tell you that? 

Gregory. They did tell me. 

Henry {starts, controls himself quickly). And — you? 

Hugo {steps behind Gregory and whispers to him over his 
shoulder). Your heart told you what to do. 

Gregory {softly, with quivering hand). Leave me! 

Henry. And — you? 

Gregory. The princes of your country proposed to have a 
Diet at Augsburg — 

Henry. At Augsburg? A Diet — ? And there shall be 
decided — what ? 

Hermann. Which of you shall be king. 

EcKBERT. And the holy Pope shall decide this. 

Henry {to Gregory). You are silent. Because you are 
astonished — is it not? But you must speak — for if 
you are silent much longer, those men may think that 
you agree with them. For that reason, speak. Speak ! 
[His limbs begin to quiver; we see that his emotion 
increases.] For if you do not speak, it may be that I 
myself — myself shall come to think that the voice 
which has driven me to you was after all not God's 



108 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

voice — [swept away hy a terrible vehemence'] — but 
that of the devil, who lied to me, and deceived me, and 
now laughs at the fool whom he has drawn into his net! 

Hugo {who during these last words, with every sign of 
fearful anxiety, has taken a place near Henry, now 
rushes toward him, and throws both of his arms about 
him). Henry — my Emperor's son — dearer to me 
than my own child, lose not your faith in God! Lose 
not your faith in God! 

Heney {gnashing his teeth). Three days and three nights 
I've spent in hunger and in affliction, amid ice and 
snow, in shame and disgrace — and behind my back a 
wily plot — 

Agnes {rising rigidly from her chair). Who has entered? 
Take my veil from my face, I cannot see; I hear 
Henry's voice, the voice that spoke at Worms on that 
terrible day! 

Heney {doubling up his fist). Blood and revenge! Cry 
of my soul! [He controls himself.] It shall not yet 
be ! My God, help me against myself ! Christ, Saviour, 
who wast a King among the heavenly hosts, and yet 
didst bow Thy neck under the scourge, help me against 
myself! [He turns suddenly toward Gregory.] Once 
already I've knelt before you. I did it for myself. 
IHe throws himself down on his knees.] I am kneel- 
ing before you a second time! For Germany I am 
kneeling here ! Do not be silent ! Your silence is the 
coffin in which Germany's salvation and happiness will 
be buried! If you knew Germany's misery and need, 
you would speak — speak! You, appointed by God to 
make peace on earth, give me this peace on my way, 
not war, raving civil war ! 

Geegoey {motionless). The princes of your country as- 
sured me that no war was necessary. 

Henry {rises, bows with an icy scorn toward Gregory). 
And you believe them ! Credulous man ! Happy child 
of innocence! Because a handful of robbers took it 



KING HENEY 109 

in their heads to ply their shameful trade in Grermany, 
you believed the German King would at once toss his 
crown to them, and run away? [He moves to the 
centre of the stage.] Eudolph of Suabia, come to me! 
[Rudolph makes a motion, Heemann, Eckbebt, and 
Henby hold him back, speaking to him in a low tone. 
Henby takes hold of the penitential cowl that he wears 
over his armor, tears it from top to bottom, and throws 
the pieces on the ground.] Don't you recognize your 
Lord and King? [Rudolph remains as before. Henby 
crosses the stage toward him, and seises his hand.] 
Then I'll show you how to come! 

Heemann, Eckbebt, Henby von dee Noedmaek (take hold 
of their swords). Ah — ! 

Henby {stands before them, and lifts up his clenched fists). 
Don't wake up my sword! It is ready! [He pulls 
Rudolph forcibly to the front, lets him go, and faces 
him.] You are the man who permits himself to be 
placed by his underlings upon Emperor Henry's 
throne? [He strikes him on the shoulder, uttering a 
coarse laugh.] You'll have to be glued on, my man, 
else you'll fall off! The measure of your head — it's 
too small for Germany's crown! The measure of your 
soul — it's too weak for this great crime! Rudolph, 
I pity you ! Beg my pardon, and I'U forgive you. [He 
points to the ground at his feet, waiting a moment.] 
But, if you don't, instead of forgiveness will come the 
law! [He seizes Rudolph's right hand, and opens the 
fingers of his hand.] See, this is the hand, with which 
you swore the oath of allegiance to me ! I know how 
to read hands. Take heed ! Death is written in this 
hand, an early death, the death that traitors die ! 

Agnes {who, in the meantime, supported by Beetha and 
Mamlda, has stood erect). I see flames before my 
eyes! Flames of the fire of hell! Of — [She col- 
lapses, and falls on the chair.] 



110 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Bebtha (with a shriek). The Empress is dying! 

iShe kneels down with Matilda by the side of 
Agnes. J 
Henby (overcome by sudden emotion, throws himself at 
the feet of his mother). You are going to leave us 
now, mother? Going to leave your son? Going to 
leave Germany? [He rises.] Go! — It is best: for I 
fear the time has come that threatens disaster to all 
to whom Germany is more than a mere name ! 

IThe head of the Empress falls backward; Countess 
Matilda presses it with both arms against her 
bosom. Bebtha steps to Henby who is standing 
in the centre of the stage, looking gloomily upon 
his mother.] 
Bebtha [embracmg him). Pray with me; pray to God for 

your mother. 
Henby. The happy may pray to Him ! He promised me 
what He did not fulfil. The voice with which I once 
called upon Him is gone. I can no longer pray. 

ACT IV 

In the castle of Sant' Angela at Rome. A vaulted room. Walls and 
ceiling made of hewn stone. The entrance door is cut diagonally in the 
right corner. In the hack wall is a hay window, the two windows of which 
meet in a sharp angle. The windows are small. The room has the 
appearance of a chamber in a fortress. It is night. A lamp hangs from 
the ceiling, which gives a dim light. When the curtain rises the en- 
trance door stands open; through this door we look out upon a hallway, 
dimly lighted, the walls and ceiling of which are, like the room in front, 
built of hewn stone. A couch stands in the front room placed crosswise 
on the stage. 

The Prefect of Rome, the Captain of the castle, and two soldiers are seen 
walking up the hallway. 

Peepect [entering). The Captain of the castle! 
Captain {approaches). Prefect? 
Pbbfect. Did you receive my order? 
Captain. All preparations have been made to receive him. 
Is the Pope coming? 



KING HENEY 111 

Pbefect. From Saint Peter's. Yon may expect him any 
moment! 

Captain {motions to the soldiers and points to the hay- 
window). From this point yon can see Saint Peter's. 
Station yourself there, and watch! {The soldiers step 
into the hay-window and look out of the window.] 

Pbefect. Tomorrow morning it may be too late; King 
Henry is besieging the walls of the Vatican. 

Captain. He has lain there twice before. 

Prefect. But we are standing: to stand makes one tired. 

Captain. Hm? Can a Roman become tired? 

Pbefect. Let us be so among ourselves. Moreover, Gott- 
fried von Bouillon has joined him with fresh troops; 
it's not impossible that he may make an attack to- 
morrow with his whole army. 

Captain. If the walls give way, Saint P«ter's wiU fall 
into his hands. 

Prefect. And with Saint Peter's, the Pope. 

Captain (with a smile). Therefore, he is preparing for 
the retreat. [In a confidential undertone.] Do you 
know — 

Prefect. What? 

Captain. It's a pity he didn't go into the army. 

Prefect. The Pope — ? 

Captain. He would make a much better soldier than priest. 

One of the Soldiers {calling from the window). Prefect! 

[Prefect and Captain look up.] 

The Soldier. A procession of priests! From Saint 
Peter's! With torches! In their midst, one in a sedan 
chair ! 

Prefect. Let me see! [Hastens to the window.] That's 
he! [Returns from the window and looks ahout.] 
Have you prepared for his comforts ? 

Captain {pointing to the couch). Well — there. 

Prefect. Of course — no one would want to live here 
unless obliged to. [He heckons the soldiers to come 
from the window.] You there, come from that win- 



112 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

dow, and get out! [To the Captain.] As soon as he 
has entered, see that the gates of the castle are locked 
and bolted. 
Captain. It shall be done. 

[We hear a confusion of voices and the noise of 
approachvng steps behind the scene. They increase 
in loudness as they approach.'] 

A multitude of priests come with hasty tripping step along the hall, their 
leader is carrying a large cross. They enter and crowd together, timidly, 
along the rear and in the bay-window, where they remain. Gregory, 
supported by two other priests, enters slowly. His walk, his bearing, 
and the features of his face, show extreme exhaustion. 

Peefect. Holy Pope ! You are exhausted ! [Povnting to 
the couch.] We have prepared a couch for you. 

Geegoey {stops in the centre of the stage, looks about, with- 
out noticing the Prefect). The croAvn! 

Peefect. What is it you wish? 

Geegoey. The crown! 

A young priest enters hastily, carrying a metal box in his two hands. 

The Young Peibst. I'm bringing it, your Holiness! 

Geegoey {Ms face lights up. He lifts quickly the cover of 
the box; in it lies the imperial crown). Leap now over 
the wall! Break into Saint Peter's holy Church! 
Here is the soul of Saint Peter's! In this chamber, 
the world! 

Peefect. It's too much for you. I beg you, take a rest. 
[He makes Geegoey sit down on the couch.] 

Geegoey {seats himself). Who says I'm weak? It's not 
true. Come here! [He beckons the young priest to 
come to him.] 1 must see it ! [The young priest kneels 
in front of the couch, supporting the box on his knees. 
Geegoey gazes at the crown tvith devouring looks.] 
That's food and drink, and solace and power! Do you 
see the rays of light that flash from it? Flames and 
sparks, blue flames, like the blue light in the eye of a 



KING HENRY 113 

hungry wolf ! Tbey are Henry 's thonghts ! — Imperial 
crovm is it's name ! The head on which it rests aspires 
to realms beyond the clouds! Down with thee, pride 
of the world! Down! Down! — 
The Young Pkiest {placing the box on the floor). At your 

feet ! At your feet ! 
Gbegoey. I've sworn to God, that I will cast the crowns of 
this world into the dust before His feet! I've grown 
old since I made this oath! My work is done! For 
a sign of what I've done, I'll do this! [He puts his 
foot upon the crown.] 
The Prefect and the Captain. God be with us ! 
Geegoey. Fools! Don't you see that God is with me? 
Ten thousand are outside, with horses and arms, shout- 
ing and clamoring for this crown! And here am I, 
I alone ! I have it — I will keep it — and wiU not sur- 
render it! 

[He sinks down exhausted. There is a pause. Be- 
hind the scene, we hear, coming from below, three 
long, measured beats, as though a hammer was 
struck against a door. The soldier, who before 
had stood in the bay-window, appears vrt the hall- 
way.] 
The Soldiee. Prefect! 
Peefect. What is it? 

The Soldiee. There is some one at the gate. 
Peefect. Who ? 

The Soldiee. One of the army of the king. 
Captain. What? 

Peefect. The Romans allowed him to oome in I 
The Soldiee. They allowed him to come in, and conducted 
him to the castle. They are below, a great crowd. 
They demand that he be admitted. They say he comes 
to treat of peace with the holy Pope. 
Geegoey {who, in the meantime, has lain as in a swoon, 
sits up). Who is speaking of me? 

Vol. XVII— 8 



114 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Prefect (to Gregory). Holy Pope, the tidings come, that 

King Henry has sent an envoy, to negotiate peace 

Avith you. 
Gregory. Does he offer submission? "Will he through 

penance release himself from the ban? 
Prefect {to the soldier). Is that what he wants? 
The Soldier. That I don't know. 
Prefect {to Gregory). Holy Pope, that we don't know. 
Gregory. No other conditions will admit him. 
Prefect. Holy Pope, it — ^it might well be — ? 
Grerory. No other conditions will admit him. 

[From below come repeated, irregular sounding 

beats, as though a great number of hands were 

beating on the gates. Cries of voices are heard 

from below.] 

Captain {hastens to the window, and looks down). Holy 

Father, the Romans are losing their patience! They 

demand by force of arms that he be admitted. 
Gregory. Are the Romans allied with him? 
Prefect. Not that, exactly; to tell the truth, they — they 

are longing for peace. 
Gregory {speaking to himself). Bodies are defending the 

Church ! Bodies are mortal ! They become tired and 

fagged out! [Lifts up his head.] Prefect! 
Prefect. What is your wish? 

Gregory. Does any one know where the Abbot of Clugny is? 
Prefect. Abbot Hugo? They say he is in the camp of 

the King. 
Gregory {lost in gloomy thought). Hugo — in Henry's 

camp 

Prefect. Have you no instructions to give ? 

Gregory {in an angry voice). They shall fight; and, if 

needs be, die for the holy Church ! 
Prefect. But — but, possibly, — very many will have to die. 
Gregory {with a scorn). How cautious you are. Prefect! 

[To himself.] Of course — what does he care about 



KING HENRY 115 

the Church? Hugo even left it! I^m shivering with 
loneliness ! [Renewed noise coming from helow.] 
GsEGORY. Let him come ! Open the door ! 

[The Prefect and the Captain leave. A long pause.] 

A knight enters wearing a helmet with lowered visor, a mantle over his 
armor. The Prefect, and the Captain come up the hall. 

Pbefect (to the Knight). Surrender your sword! When 
you leave, you shall have it back. 

[The Knight surrenders silently his sword to the 
Prefect, and motions him and the Captain to with- 
draw. Both leave. The Knight beckons also to 
the clergy to withdraw; these look inquiringly at 
Gbegoey. Receiving no sign from him, they leave, 
closing the door behind them. The Knight is 
standing in the rear stately erect.] 
Geegoky {without turning toward him). You bring me 

Henry's submission? 
The Knight. He submitted himself when you were the 

stronger. 
Gbegoey {startled at the words of the Knight, as though 
listening to the sound of his voice; he turns slowly 
his head toward him, and stares at him for awhile in 
silence). Am I not— still the stronger? Is Henry 
not under the ban? 
The Knight. He was freed from it at Canossa. 
Gregoby. But I put the ban upon him a second time. Did 

they not hear of it in Germany? 
The Knight. They heard of it. 
Gbegoey. What then did they do in Germany? What did 

the people say? 
The Knight. They heard of it. 
Gbegoey. What did they do when they heard of, it? 
The Knight. That's all there was about it. 

[Gbegoey clutches the pillows, and utters a low 
sound.] 



116 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The Knight. When Gregory cursed Henry the first time, 
God's anger was in his words ; when he did it a second 
time, it was a man's impotent hatred. 

Gkegoky. Did Henry send you? Is that what he said 
to you I 

The Knight. Henry did not send me. 

Gkegoky. Not? You are a German? You come from 
Germany? 

The Knight. I am a German, I come from Germany. 

Gkegoky. And — and Henry did not send you ? [A pause.] 
Who did send you? Did King Eudolph send you? 

The Knight. That may be. 

Gregory. What has he to say to me ? What is his message ? 

The Knight. He sends you his farewell: he's deadl 

Gregory. Eudolph dead? 

The Knight. Slain in a battle against Henry. He sends 
you a legacy. 

Gregory. A — a legacy? 

The Knight. The hand with which he swore allegianoe to 
his king, which was cut from his body in bloody battle, 
the hand, which Henry read to him at Canossa, prophe- 
sying his death, — as a legacy he sends you this hand ! 
[He puts his hand under his mantle, produces a 
man's right hand, and throws it at Gregory's feet.] 

Gregory (rises with a cry of terror, sinks down by the side 
of the couch, burying his face deep in the pillows). 
Oh! — [Kneeling at the couch.] How do you know 
that Henry read his death in Rudolph's hand? 

The Knight. Because it was I who read it ! 

Gregory. You — you are — ? 

The Knight {lifts quickly his helmet). I am Henry, the 
King. [There is a pause.] Do you feel the silence 
round about us? It's the world, holding its breath, 
because we are, for the first time, alone. [He points 
to the hand.] Death is between us ! I will cover it. 
[He takes the mantle from his shoulder, and throws it 
over the hand.] May life spring forth from this hour! 



KING HENEY 117 

Gregory (rises from his knees, and seats himself on the 
couch). What do you ask of me? 

Henry. My right. 

Gregory. What do you call your right? 

Henry. The imperial crown. 

Gregory (scornfully). You say I am not stronger than 
you are ; yet you come begging of me. 

Henry. I do not come begging: tomorrow I shall be 
emperor ! 

Gregory. If I refuse it to you? 

Henry. Then some one else will crown me. 

Gregory. The Pope only can crown an emperor ! 

Henry. Then another pope will reign in your place to- 
morrow. 

Gregory. Who ? 

Henry. Wibert of Eavenna. 

Gregory. Wibert? The priests will tear the holy vest- 
ments from his body ! 

Henry. A hosanna the priests will sing him. 

Gregory. Who tells you that? 

Henry. One in whom you believe, — Hugo, the Abbot of 
Clugny. 

Gregory. Hugo — for Wibert? That's not true! 

Henry. Come into my camp, ask him yourself ! [Gregory 
collapses on his couch. A pause.] But it is my wish, 
that you crown me! 

Gregory. Why — I? 

Henry. Because I cannot forget the day when I saw you 
for the first time, many years ago, up there, at Goslar. 
You looked so different from other people ! [Gregory 
turns slowly toward him.] You looked to me like one 
who could work wonders ! If it be true that you have 
this power, use it: it is your last opportunity! 

Gregory. What wonder do you expect of me? 

Henry. Since my visit at Canossa, I lost my faith. Give 
me back my faith ! 

Gregory. So — that 's what you wart 1 



118 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hbney. Since then something died within me — cause it 
to live again ! 

Gebgory (his eyes turn away from Henry, his head drops 
on his breast; he wrings his hands; his whole body 
trembles, showing that intense emotion surges through 
him). How his heart yearns after mine! How my 
heart answers his! \_He wrings his hands more wildly, 
suddenly they fall asunder; he rises quickly.] Henry! 
I wish to God you were not King ! 

Heney (with a grave smile). My foes say that also. 

Gbegoey. Not King just at this time— ^ while I am Pope! 

Hbney. I don't understand you. 

Gregoby {standing at the head of the couch). But if you 
did understand me, the miracle you are asking for 
would be wrought! 

Heney. I want you to restore my faith. 

Geegoey. Then you would have what will give you faith. 

Hbney. What? 

Geegoey. The Infinite, the Eternal, the Divine, the Church. 

Heney. I want the invisible God, in whom I once believed ! 

Geegoey. He lives in the Church ! Believe in her, and He 
will again be yours ! 

Henby [looks at him in blank astonishment) . And — if I-^ 
would — 

Geegoey {stretches, from the place where he stands, both 
hands toward Heney). Oh, if only you would! Oh, 
if you would come ! If you would come to her, as a son 
to his mother! Come, Henry! Henry, come! Do 
you remember what you said to me on that day in 
Goslar? You said that you would not suffer any one 
to put out people's eyes! Kingly boy, kingly man, 
think of what you said! Put it now into practice, — 
make the blind see, make them see what will give them 
eternal salvation ! You, first among men, you, mightiest 
among men, humble yourself first, submit yourself first, 
kneel before the one who is greater than you ! 

Heney. Before the Church? 



KING HENRY 119 

Gregory. Yes, yes, yes, before tlie Church, which is as 
great as God Himself! 

Henky. I understand what you ask of me — tell me, What 
will you give me in return? 

Gregory. What will I give you? What will I give you? 
I will take the ban from you; I will recognize you 
before the whole world as Bang; I will crown you 
Emperor before the world; I will receive you as my 
partner in my great work, as my friend, my brother, 
my son, as the most beloved son of the Church ! Henry, 
you who have suffered so much from hatred — your 
soul will be filled with the light of heavenly bliss, when 
the stream of universal love which the Church is, able 
to give, overflows you! 

Henry. Give me your love of your own free-will. 

Gregory. I do give you my love of my own free-will. 

Henry. No, you sell it to me. Let me be your friend with- 
out being your servant! 

Gregory. Does the son become a servant in submitting 
himself to his mother? 

Henry. No true mother lets her son feel this submission. 

Gregory. You shall not feel it ! The outside world shall 
not see your submission, the outside world shall not 
see you kneel ! A thousand steps I take toward you — 
one only I ask of you ! Here where I am is the Church ; 
where you are, is the world. Let this stone chamber 
become the place of that momentous event where the 
body humbled itself before the spirit! Subdue the 
king, bow your neck, kneel before me ; no one will know 
it, no one will see it — 

Henry. One will see it! 

Gregory. Who ? 

Henry. I ! 

Gregory. Do it for humanity's sake! 

Henry. I cannot kneel. 

Gregory. Did you not kneel once before? 

Henry. It did not help me. At that time when I knelt, 



120 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

God died within me. Eeturn to me the God I sought 
to find in you and you have taken from me ! 

Gbegory. I cannot, unless you humble yourself. Humble 
yourself! 

Henry. No ! 

Geegoey. You must — 

Henby. No ! 

Geegoey (throwing up both hands). Were all my words 
in vain that I have spoken, all that I implored of you? 
Is this hour lost, this one hour, which once was and 
will never return? Oh, you stubborn man! 

Heney. Oh, — deceiver ! 

Geegoey (taken aback). Deceiver — ? 

Henry. Yes, deceiver ! Who wishes people to believe that 
he is above weakness and desire — yet who hungers 
after power, and is satisfied with empty show ! Twice 
I have searched your soul, twice I've found there 
nothing but emptiness ! 

Geegory. Now you shall not be emperor! 

Henry. Now I shall be emperor without your help ! \_He 
takes the mantle from the floor, pointing to the win- 
dow.'] The day is dawning red. Thousands have died 
because of you, ten thousands will die because of you — 
shall their blood be upon you? Shall there be war? 

Gregory. War from generation to generation, between 
father and son! War there shall be! And a curse 
upon you from now on till eternity! 

Henry (throws the mantle about his shoulders). It's not 
a wonder worker — it's a sorcerer that is cursing the 
world! Your voice is drowned by another, mightier 
than yours — the voice of despair! Your curse is 
made void by another, mightier than yours — the curse 
of the deceived ! All those that have sought refuge in 
hope, all those that have struggled to keep their faith, 
have yearned after God, all those that have put their 
trust in you, and have received a stone in place of 
bread, and a glittering plaything instead of eternal 



KING HENRY 121 

life, — for all those I speak, for all those I say to you, 
You shall be cursed, cursed, cursed! [He rushes out.] 
Gbegory {stretches out both arms). Let me pray — pray — 
pray — 

[He staggers, and falls across the couch, so that his 
head is hanging down.] 

The priests appear at the door; they look about anxiously for a moment, 
then enter tumultuously. 

The Pbiests. The Pope is dying! 

[The moment they are drawing near, they perceive 
the dead hand on the floor.] 

One of the Priests. See — what 's lying there on the floor ! 

A Second Peiest {bending over). A man's hand hacked 
from the body! 

All THE Priests. A dead man's hand! 

[They fall back terrified to the rear.] 

The Young Priest {the one who brought the crown is kneel- 
ing by the side of Gregory and has lifted his head on 
the couch). Don't run away! Don't you see that he 
is dying? Let us pray for his soul! 

The Priests. Let us pray for his soul ! 

[They kneel down in the rear.] 

The Young Priest {leading in prayer). " When the hour 
is at hand which is followed by no hour — ' ' 

The Priests {repeating the words). " Which is followed 
by no hour — " 

The Young Priest {leading in prayer). " When the night 
is at hand which is followed by no day — " 

The Priests {as before). "Which is followed by no 
day—" 

The Young Priest {as before). " Then lead me in the 
darkness, have pity upon me, Lord! " 

The Priests {as before). " Have pity upon me, Lord ! " 

Gregory {raising his head). What are you muttering? 

The Young Priest. We are prajdng. 

Gregory. Prayers for one dying? 



122 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The Young Priest. Prayers for the last hour. 
Gregory. Is there a dying one here ? 
All THE Priests. Pray with us, holy Father! Pray with us! 
[Behind the scene, coming from the distance, a loud 
trumpet blast. The priests jump from the ground, 
and rush to the window.] 
One of the Priests. That 's King Henry, who is attacking 

the walls of Rome ! 
Second Priest. Death is upon us! 
All the Priests {run in deathly fear to the front, throw 

themselves before Gregory, embracing his knees). 

Pray with us ! Pray ! Pray ! 
Gregory {pushing theyn away). Cowards! 

[From the distance a second trumpet blast, then a 
great uproar and confusion of sounds.] 
All the Priests. Did you hear that? 
Gregory. To arms ! 

All the Priests. Pray for the salvation of your soul! 
Gregory. Fight for the holy Church! 
All the Priests. Pray! Pray! 
Gregory. Upon the walls with you! [He struggles up 

from the couch.] Give me the crucifix! [He reaches 

after the crucifix; it is given him.] 
One op the Priests. What are you going to do? 
Gregory. I am going up on the walls! [He straightens 

himself out, leaning against the cross.] Help me onto 

my feet ! Upon the walls ! Fight ! Die for the holy 

Church ! [He staggers, lets the cross fall and sinks bach 

on the couch.] Oh, my body — my body — wretched 

body ! — 

The Prefect comes rushing in. 

Prefect. Holy Father — Holy Father — Gottfried von 
Bouillon has scaled the walls ! The Germans are inside 
the city! 

Gregory. Fight for the holy Church! Fight against 
Henry and hell! For the holy Church! 



KING HENEY 123 

The Captain appears at the door. 

Captain. Prefect! You are wanted! King Henry has 
entered Saint Peter's! There is a frightful massacre 
in the church ! 

IThe Prefect rushes out followed by the Captain. 
The priests jump to their feet. They are greatly 
terrified.'] 
One of the Priests. That's God's own judgment! 
A Second Priest. Look at the dead man's hand! It's 

pointing to him ! 
First Priest. He can't pray! 
Second Priest. God has forsaken him ! 
All the Priests. God has forsaken him ! Save yourself ! 
Flee ! Save yourself ! 

[They crowd together in wild confusion toward the 

door, and leave in haste. Gregory sinks hack with 

a moan.] 

The Young Priest {carried away by the confusion of the 

fleeing priests, is returning, and throws himself at 

Gregory 'sfeet). 1 will not flee ! I will not ! I will not ! 

Gregory, Who are you? The lamp hums dimly — who 

are you that is speaking to me? 
The Young Priest (throwing his arm about Gregory, 
presses his face upon Gregory's breast). One of your 
people, the last, the least, but one of them ! 
Gregory {groping for the head of the young man). You 

are the boy who — who brought me the crown? 
The Young Priest. I'm the one ! I'm the one ! Unknown, 
I 've looked up to you ; in obscurity, I 've prayed to be 
with you ! I was a beggar all my days, death leads me 
now to you, to your side ! I may die now with you, — 
you, my sanctuary, — you, my God ! 

[Behind the scene a great tumult arises. We hear 
the words: " Henry for Emperor, Wibert for 
Pope!''] 
Gregory {startled). What do these call? 



124 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The Young Priest {throwing himself upon him). Don't 
listen to them! Don't listen to them! 

[Behind the scene repeated cries: " Henry for Em- 
peror, Wibert for Pope! "] 

Gregory (starting up). They are calling, — "Wibert for 
Pope!" 

The Young Priest {throwing himself with redoubled pas- 
sion upon him). They are lying! They are lying! 
They are lying! 

Gregory {raising himself feebly on his feet, he supports 
himself with both ha/nds on the shoulders of the young 
priest, who is kneeling before him). Who — is your 
Pope? 

The Young Priest. You are the Pope, none but you! 

Gregory. Do you believe in me? 

The Young Priest. As I believe in God so I believe in you ! 

Gregory. You love me? 

The Young Priest. Father and mother, brother and sister, 
I'll give up for you! 

Gregory. my God! Thou hast sent him to me in this 
my last hour! Thou didst know that I wanted noth- 
ing for myself, but all things for the holy Cause 
alone! Thou didst send him to me in my last hour, 
this man here, my God ! \_He puts his hands on the 
head of the young man.] My hands are on your head! 
Youth, golden season of life, I bless you! Future, I 
link you to my work! You shall remain when I have 
passed away; you shall live when I have died! 
Shadows are dimming my vision ! Look into my eyes ! 
Sun is in your eyes! You are the Tomorrow, which 
is dawning in triumph over the Yesterday ! 

[Behind the scene, in immediate proximity, once 
more repeated cries of: " Henry for Emperor, 
Wilbert for Pope!"] 

Gregory {in a rigid position, standing, his right hand 
raised). The Future — the Future! That — that's 

mine ! 

[He staggers, falls backward on the couch, and dies.] 




NOBLE BLOOD 

By Ernst von Wildenbeuch 

TRANSLATED BY MURIEL ALMON 

I RE there people, I wonder, who are entirely 
free from curiosity? — People who, when 
they see someone looking attentively and 
interestedly at an unknown object, are able 
to pass by without feeling in the least an 
itching desire to stop, to follow the direction of the other's 
gaze and find out what mysterious thing it is he sees? 

If anyone should ask me whether I, personally, belong to 
that strong sort of men, I do not know whether I could 
honestly say yes, and certain it is that there was one 
moment in my life when I not only felt such an itching 
desire but actually yielded to it and did what any curious 
person does. 

The place where that happened was a wine-tavern in the 
old town where I was practising at the court as a young, 
unpaid barrister; the time was a summer afternoon. 

The wine-tavern, on the ground floor, at the side of a 
large square of which its windows commanded a view in 
all directions, was almost empty at that hour. To my mind 
— for I always have been a lover of solitude — it was only 
the pleasanter on that account. 

There were three of us: the fat tapster who poured 
golden yellow muscatel into my glass from a bottle gray 
with dust, then I myself, sitting in a corner of the many- 
angled, cosy room, sipping the fragrant wine, and finally 
another guest who had seated himself at one of the two 
open windows, a goblet of red wine before him on the 
window-sill, a long, well-colored meerschaum cigar-holder 
in his mouth, from which he spread clouds of smoke about 



126 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

This man, whose reddish face, tinged with a bluish hue in 
spots, was surrounded by a long gray beard, was an old 
pensioned colonel known to everyone in town ; he belonged 
to the colony of retired officers who had settled in this 
pleasant place and were slowly advancing toward the end 
of their days in tedious monotony. 

Aljout noon they were to be seen strolling through the 
streets in groups of two or three, shortly to disappear into 
the wine-tavern, where, between twelve and one, they would 
gather about the round table in response to the " call to 
conversation." On the table stood pint bottles of sour 
moselle, above it hung a cloud of bluish cigar-smoke, and 
through the nebulous veil would be heard peevish, husky 
voices discussing the latest announcements in the list of 
promotions. 

The old colonel also was a regular visitor in the wine- 
tavern ; he did not come at the hour of the general roll-call, 
however, but later, in the afternoon. 

His was a solitary nature. He was seldom seen walk- 
ing with others ; he lived outside the town on the other side 
of the river, and the view from his windows was of the 
broad meadow-lands that the stream, when it overflowed 
its banks in spring, usually covered with water. Sometimes 
when I passed by the house where he lived I had seen him 
standing at the window, his blood-shot eyes gazing medi- 
tatively out of their puffed and wrinkled lids at the gray 
wilderness of water beyond the dam. 

And now, there he sat at the window of the wine-tavern 
gazing steadily out into the square across the sandy surface 
of which the wind swept the dust in swirls. 

What could he be looking at? 

The fat tapster who was bored with us two silent people, 
had noticed the Colonel's behavior before I did; he stood 
in the middle of the room, his hands behind his back, under 
his coattails, and looked out of the other window into the 
square. 

There must surely be something going on out there. 



NOBLE BLOOD 127 

As quietly as possible so as not to distract the attention 
of the other two, I rose from my seat. But there was noth- 
ing particular to be seen. The square was deserted, except 
that in the middle, near the ornamental lamppost, I noticed 
two school-boys who stood facing each other in threatening 
attitudes. 

Was that what so engaged the old man's attention? 

Human nature being as it is, once I had begun to watch 
I could not turn my eyes away till I had seen whether the 
threatened fight would actually take place. The boys had 
just come from the afternoon session; they still carried 
their schoolbags under their arms. They were probably 
about the same age, but one was a head taller than the other. 
This bigger boy, a thin, lanky fellow with a disagreeable 
expression on his freckled face, was blocking the way for 
the other, who was short and fat and had a good-natured 
face with chubby, red cheeks. At the same time the bully 
seemed to be teasing the smaller boy with irritating re- 
marks. The distance was too great, however, for me to 
understand what he said. After this had lasted a little 
while the fight began. Both boys dropped their bags; the 
short, fat one lowered his head as if he meant to ram in 
his opponent's stomach and rushed at him. 

" Now then, the big fellow will soon have him in chan- 
cery," said the Colonel, who had watched the fighters' 
movements attentively and seemed to disapprove of the 
little lad's tactics. 

It was difficult to say to whom he spoke these words, he 
said them aloud, to himself without addressing either of us. 

His prediction- was fulfilled immediately. 

The taller boy avoided his enemy's attack; a moment 
later he had thrown his left arm around the other's neck 
so that he held his head as if in a noose ; he had him, as we 
say, "in chancery." "With his right hand he seized his 
antagonist's right fist with which the latter was trying to 
belabor his back and after he had captured him completely 
and got him into his power he dragged him in mocking tri- 



128 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

umph round the lamppost, once and again and then a third 
time. 

V "He's a flabby chap," said the old Colonel, continuing 
his monologue, ' ' he always lets himself be caught that 
way." Apparently he was dissatisfied with the short, fat 
fellow and could not bear the tall, thin one. 

' ' For they fight every day, ' ' he went on, looking at the 
tapster now, to whom it seemed he wanted to explain his 
interest in the matter. 

Then he turned his face again toward the window. 

" I'm curious to see whether the little lad will come! " 

He had scarcely finished growling these words when a 
slender little fellow came rushing out of the parkway that 
ran into the square at that point. 

" There he is ! " said the old Colonel. He took a swallow 
of red wine and stroked his beard. 

The little lad whose resemblance to the chubby-cheeked 
boy marked him as his brother, but who looked like a more 
delicate and improved edition of the latter, had come up 
to the others. With both hands he raised his school-bag 
and gave the tall, thin boy such a blow with it on the back 
that we could hear the sound. 

" Bravo! " said the old Colonel. 

The tall, thin boy kicked at his new assailant like a horse. 
The little chap avoided the kick and at the same instant 
another blow descended on the tall, thin boy, this time on 
his head, knocking off his cap. 

In spite of that he did not relax his strangle hold and 
still gripped his prisoner's right hand firmly. 

Now the little boy tore open his bag with truly mad 
haste; out of the bag he took his pencil-box, out of the 
pencil-box his penholder and, using the steel pen as a 
weapon, he suddenly began to stab the tall, thin boy's hand 

' ' The confounded youngster ! ' ' said the Colonel to him- 
self, ' ' a capital little chap ! ' ' His red eyes shone with 
delight. 

Things grew too hot now for the tall, thin boy; irritated 



NOBLE BLOOD 129 

by the pain he let go his first antagonist and fell upon the 
little fellow, pummeling him furiously mth his fists. 

But the latter turned into a regular little wildcat. His 
cap had fallen from his head ; his curly hair clung about his 
deathly pale, delicately formed face in which his eyes 
flamed. His schoolbag with all its contents lay on the 
ground and across them he flew at the tall, thin boy. 

He pressed close to his antagonist and belabored his 
stomach and body with his convulsively clenched little fists 
so effectively that the other began to retreat step by step. 

In the meantime the chubby-cheeked boy had collected 
himself again, had picked up his bag and now joined once 
more in the fight with blows on the enemy's back and flanks. 

At last the tall, thin boy shook off the little one, stepped 
back two paces and picked up his cap. The fight was draw- 
ing to a close. 

Panting breathlessly the three stood opposite one an- 
other. The tall, thin boy sought to hide his shame at his 
defeat by a hateful grin ; the little one, his fists still clenched, 
followed his every movement with glowing eyes ready at 
any moment to rush at him if he should begin again. 

But the tall, thin fellow did not come again ; he had had 
enough. Scornfully he withdrew farther and farther, 
shrugging his shoulders as he went, and when he had 
reached a certain distance he began to shout insults at the 
other two. 

The brothers gathered up the little one's belongings 
which lay scattered over the ground, put them into the 
schoolbag, picked up their caps, brushed the dust off them 
and turned to continue their way home. This led them 
past the windows of our wine tavern. I was able to look 
closer at the brave little lad ; he was really a thoroughbred. 
The tall, thin boy followed them again shouting at them 
loudly across the square; the little one shrugged his 
shoulders with unutterable conteii;ipt. "What a big, 
clumsy coward," he said, and suddenly he stopped and 

Vol. XVII — 9 



130 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

turned to face his enemy. Instantly the tall, thin boy 
stopped too, and the brothers broke into derisive laughter. 

They were now standing directly under the window at 
which the old Colonel was sitting. He leaned out. 

' ' Bravo, my boy ! " he said, ' ' you 're a plucky little chap. 
Here, take a drink for a rewarjd. ' ' He picked up the goblet 
and held it out the window to the little fellow. The boy 
looked up surprised, then he whispered something to his 
older brother, gave him his bag to hold, and took the big 
glass in both his little hands. 

After he had drunk a generous swallow he held the glass 
in one hand by the stem, took his schoolbag from his brother 
again and, without asking further permission, offered him 
the glass too. 

Chubby Cheeks also took a draught. 

'* Such a rogue," said the old Colonel, grinning to him- 
self; " I offer him my glass and without a ' by your leave ' 
he gives his brother a drink out of it. ' ' 

The little chap was now holding the glass up to the 
window again. It was easy to see by his face that what 
he had done had seemed to him a matter of course. 

" Did it taste good? " asked the old Colonel. 

"Yes, thank you, very good," said the boy, pulled at 
his cap, politely, and continued on his way with his brother. 

The Colonel watched them till they turned the corner of 
the street and disappeared from his view. 

Then, resuming his soliloquy, he said, " Boys like that— 
it's curious sometimes about boys like that." 

" That they should fight like that, right in the street," 
said the fat tapster disapprovingly, who still remained 
standing where he was; " it's a wonder that their teachers 
allow it ; after all they seem to be the children of respec- 
table families." 

" That doesn't matter a bit," grunted the old Colonel. 
" Boys must have freedom, the teachers can't be after them 
all the time ; boys must fight. ' ' 

He rose from his seat so heavily that the chair creaked 



NOBLE BLOOD 131 

under him, knocked the cigar stump out of his cigar-holder 
into the ashtray, and walked stiflSy over to the opposite wall 
where his hat hung on a peg. At the same time he con- 
tinued his thougMs. 

" With boys like that nature shows itself just as it really 
is — afterward, when they grow older, they all seem to he 
alike — they are good subjects for study — hoys like that." 

The tapster had given him his hat ; the Colonel once more 
took up his goblet in which there were still a few drops of 
red wine. 

" Confounded scamps," he growled, " they've drunk up 
all my wine." He looked at the scanty remnant almost 
sadly, then set the goblet down without draining it. 

The fat tapster suddenly grew animated. 

" Will you have some more, sir I " 

Standing at the table the old man opened the wine-list 
and growled to himself. 

" Hm — some other kind perhaps — but they don't keep 
that on tap — a whole bottle — that would be rather too 
much." 

His gaze wandered slowly over to me ; in his eyes I read 
the dumb question of the man who asks his fellow whether 
he will help him conquer a bottle of wine. 

" If you will allow me. Colonel," I said, " I shall be glad 
to share a bottle." 

He did allow me and, apparently, not unwillingly. He 
pushed the wine-list over to the tapster, underscored a line 
with his index finger and said in a tone of command: "A 
bottleof that." 

" That's a brand that I know," he said turning to me as 
he threw his hat on a chair and sat down at the table, "it's 
noble blood. ' ' 

I had seated myself at the table with him so that I saw 
his face from the side. His gaze was turned toward the 
windows and, as he looked past me at the sky, the crimson 
glow of the sunset was reflected in his eyes. 

It was the first time I had seen him in such close 
proximity. 



132 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

There was an expression in his eyes as if he were lost 
in day dreams and, as his hand mechanically stroked his 
long gray beard, it seemed as if figures were rising before 
him out of the torrent of years' that had streamed away 
into silence behind him, figures of those who had been young 
when he was young and now were — who could tell me, 
where ? The bottle that the tapster brought and put down 
before us on the table contained a delicious draught. Old 
Bordeaux, very dark and very mellow flowed into our 
glasses. I took up the expression that the old man had used 
just before. 

' ' I must agree with you, Colonel, it is really ' noble 
blood.'" 

His red eyes returned from the distance, wandered over 
to me and remained fixed upon me as if he would say: 
" What do you know of — " 

He took a generous swallow, wiped his damp beard and 
gazed across the glass. "It's so strange," he said, " when 
we grow old, we think much more of our earliest days than 
of the time that came after." 

I remained silent. I felt that I ought not to speak and 
question. When a man recalls old memories he becomes 
poetical, and men who are creating poetry must not be 
questioned. A long pause ensued. 

" How strange it is — the people we meet," he continued. 
" If we begin to think — some who go on living and living — 
sometimes it would be better if they were no longer alive — 
and others — they had to go — much too young." He 
passed his hand over the top of the table. *' There's much 
down below there." 

It looked as if the top of the table meant the surface of 
the earth to him, and as if he were thinking of those that 
lie under the earth. 

" I had to think of that a few minutes ago " — his voice 
sounded gloomy — "when I saw the boy. Nature sticks 
right out of a boy like that, as thick as your arm. We can 
see right into his blood. But it's a pity — noble blood 



NOBLE BLOOD 133. 

easily goes to waste — more easily than the other kind. I 
knew a boy like that once." 

There we had it ! 

The tapster had seated himself in the far corner of the 
room; I kept perfectly quiet; the stillness of the room was 
broken by the old Colonel's heavy voice which came at 
intervals like the gusts of wind that precede a thunder 
storm or some natural calamity. 

His gaze wandered over me again as if examining me to 
see whether I could listen. He did not question, I did not 
speak, but I looked at him and my glance may have replied : 
"Tell the story." 

Still he did not begin at once but first with deliberation 
drew a large cigar case of hard brown leather out of his 
breast pocket, took out a cigar and lighted it slowly. 

' ' You know Berlin, of course, ' ' he said, blowing out the 
match and puflfing the first cloud of smoke across the table, 
" and I suppose you've also been on the elevated railway." 

" Oh yes, sometimes." 

" Hm — well, when you go from Alexander Square to the 
Janowitz Bridge, along behind New Friedrich Street, on 
the right side| in New Friedrich Street there stands a large, 
plain old building — that is the old military school." 

I nodded corroboratively. 

" The new one, out in Lichterfelde, I don't know at all, 
but the old one I do know — hm — yes, I know that one." 

The repetition of his words made me feel that he knew 
not only the building but also not a few things that had 
happened there. 

" Coming from Alexander Square," he continued, "you 
come\first to a yard with trees in it. Grass grows there 
now, but that wasn't so in my day; it was used for a drill 
ground then and the cadets used to walk about there at 
recess. Then comes the big main building which surrounds 
a rectangular court called the " Square Court," and there 
too the cadets used to walk. You can't see it from outside 
as you pass." 



134 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Again I nodded in corroboration. 

' ' And then comes a third yard ; it is smaller and a house 
faces it. I don't know what the house is used for now; 
at that time it was the hospital. And then as you go past 
in the train you can see the roof of the gymnasium too, for 
next to the hospital was the main athletic field. There was 
a ditch to jump over and climbing poles and all sorts of 
things — that's all been taken away now. A door opened 
from the hospital into the athletic field, but it was always 
locked. To enter the hospital you had to approach it from 
the front, by way of the yard. This door, as I said, was 
always locked ; that is, it was only opened on special occa- 
sions and they were always very sad occasions. For you 
must know that on the other side of the door was the 
mortuary and when a cadet died he was laid there and the 
door was opened and remained so until the other cadets 
had been led past to take a last look at him, and until he was 
borne away — hm." A long pause followed. 

"As I said, I know nothing about the new building out 
there in Lichterf elde, " continued the Colonel disparag- 
ingly, " but I've heard that it is a big affair now with lots 
of cadets. At that time, in New Friedrich Street, there 
were not very many, only four companies, and they made 
up two classes: juniors and seniors, and then there were 
the special students who afterward entered the army as 
oflScers and whom we called ' the bullies ' because they had 
the supervision of the others and we couldn't bear them on 
that account. 

" In the company to which I belonged — it was the fourth 
— there were two brothers who were with me in, the junior 
class. Their name is immateriaL but — well — it was von 

L . The masters called the older of the two L-1, and 

the little one,' who was a year and a half younger than the 
other, L-2 ; but among us cadets they were known as Big L 
and Little L. Little L, — well — hm." 

He moved on his chair and a far-away look came into his 
eyes. He seemed to have arrived at the object of his 
memory. 



NOBLE BLOOD 135 

" Such a difference between two brothers I have really 
never seen since," he went on, blowing a thick cloud out of 
his meerschaum cigar holder. ' ' Big L was a thickset fel- 
low with clumsy limbs and a heavy head ; Little L was like 
a willow-wand, he was so slender and supple. He had a 
small, narrow head and blond, wavy hair that curled natu- 
rally and a little nose, like a young eagle and altogether — 
he was a boy — " 

The old Colonel breathed hard. 

" Don't imagine that the cadets were indifferent to these 
things ; on the contrary. The brothers had scarcely come 
to the military school in Berlin from the preparatory 
school — they came from Wahlstatt I think — before the 
matter was decided; no one paid any attention to Big L, 
and Little L.was a general favorite. 

"It's queer about boys like that. The big, strong ones 
are kings and whomever they favor has an easy time of it. 
And that wins him the respect of the others too and they 
would scarcely dare to bother him., Nature still comes out 
in boys hke that; it's something the same as it is with 
animals: among them all the others crouch down before 
the biggest and strongest beast. ' ' 

Eenewed puffs from the meerschaum cigar holder accom- 
panied these words. 

" AVhen the cadets came down at recess, those who were 
good friends always joined one another and then walked 
arm in arm round the Square Court and to the yard where 
the trees stand, and so they kept on till the drum sounded 
the call to work again. 

" Big L — well — he joined any one he could and strode 
along ill-humoredly. Little L, on the contrary, scarcely 
got down into the yard before two or three of the other 
big boys took him by the arm and made him walk with them. 
And they were seniors too, whereas generally a senior 
would never have dreamed of walking with a ' knapsack ' 
as they called the boys in the junior class — that was far 
beneath their dignity. But it was very different when the 



136 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

boy was Little L ; they made an exception in his case. In 
spite of that he was not less a favorite with the juniors 
than with the seniors. That could be seen in class where, 
of course, we were all juniors together. We were seated 
in alphabetical order and so the two L's sat about in the 
middle next to each other. 

" Their standing in the class was fairly equal. Big L 
had a good head for mathematics; he wasn't much good at 
any other subject but in mathematics he was a ' star,' and 
Little L, who was not exactly clever at figures, copied from 
his brother's work. In everything else Little L excelled 
his elder brother, and was, in fact, one of the best in the 
class. And this was one of the differences between the 
brothers : Big L kept his wisdom to himself and did not 
prompt ; Little L prompted, — Oh yes, he positively roared, 
yes, indeed — " 

An affectionate smile passed over the old man's face. 

" When a boy in the first row was called on and didn't 
know his lesson. Little L hissed across all the intervening 
benches at him what to say ; when it came the turn of a boy 
in the last row, Little L murmured the answer half aloud. 

" There was one old professor who taught us Latin. 
Almost every time we recited to him he would stop in the 
middle of the class. ' L-2, ' he would say, ' you are prompt- 
ing again! And you are doing it in the most unabashed 
way ! Take care, L 2, I will make an example of you the 
next time. I warn you today for the last time.' " 

The old Colonel laughed to himself. 

" But it was always the time before the last," he said, 
" and it never' went beyond the warning, for although Lit- 
tle L was not a model boy, but quite the contrary, he was 
nevertheless a favorite with the masters and officers too — 
and it couldn't have been otherwise. He was always as 
jolly as if he'd had a present every day, although he never 
had any present given him, for the father of the two boys 
was a very poor major in some infantry regiment and they 
scarcely had a groshen for pocket money. And he always 



NOBLE BLOOD 13^ 

looked as if he were just fresh out of a bandhox, so neal 
and smart — outside and in — altogether — " 

The Colonel paused; he seemed to be searching for a 
term which would express all his love for his little comrade 
of long ago. 

"As if nature had been in a really good humor for once,' 
he said then, ' ' and had stood the boy on his feet and said, 
* here you have him ! ' 

"And that was curious," he continued, " different as the 
brothers were, still they were very much attached to eacli 
other. 

" Big L didn't show it so much; he was always morose 
and didn't show anything; but Little L couldn't hide any- 
thing. 

"And because Little L was conscious of how much bettei 
than his brother he was treated by the other cadets, he was 
sorry for his brother. When they were walking in the yard 
he could be seen looking round for his brother from time 
to time, to see if he too had somebody to walk with. He 
prompted his brother in class, of course, and let him copy 
his work when extemporary exercises were dictated; bui 
besides that he took care that no one hurt his brother and 
sometimes when he looked at him from the side without the 
other's noticing it, his little face often grew quite remark- 
ably serious, almost as if he were worried about his 
brother. ' ' 

The old man smoked harder. 

" It was afterward that I pieced all that together," he 
said, ' ' after everything had happened that was to happen ; 
he probably knew more about Big L's state of mind than 
we did at that time, and what tendencies his brother had. 

" The cadets knew that, of course, and although it did 
Big L no good, for he remained as unpopular as ever, it 
made Little L even more of a favorite than he had been, 
and he was generally called ' brotherly love. ' 

" The two slept in the same room and, as I have already 
said, Little L was very neat, while Big L, on the contrary. 



138 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

was slovenly. Little L made himself into a regular servant 
for his brother and sometimes he even polished the buttons 
on his coat for him and, before we formed for the roll-call, 
he would take the clothes brush and go all over him once 
again, brushing his uniform and almost scrubbing it — par- 
ticularly on the days when the ' cross Lieutenant ' was on 
duty and had the roll-call. 

" To explain that I must tell you that for the roU-oall 
the cadets had to go down in the morning to the yard and 
then the officer on duty passed along through the ranks 
and inspected the cadets to see if their uniforms were in 
order. 

"And when it was the ' cross Lieutenant ' who did that 
the whole company was always in a "blue funk, for he never 
failed to find something wrong. He went behind the cadets 
and filliped their coats with his fingers to see if any dust 
came out and if there was none then he lifted up their coat- 
pockets and beat them with his hand and, of course, how- 
ever well a coat is beaten and brushed there is still always 
a little dust in it and as soon as the ' cross Lieutenant ' saw 
that he said in a voice like the bleat of an old billy-goat, 
' Take his name — to report on Sunday, ' and then that 
cadet's Sunday leave was done for, and that was very sad." 

The old Colonel paused, drank a swallow energetically 
and stroked his moustache into his mouth so that he could 
suck off the beads of wine that glistened on it; the recol- 
lection of the " cross Lieutenant " apparently made him 
as savage as a wolf. 

' ' If you think, ' ' he growled, ' ' how mean a man must be 
to deprive a poor boy of his Sunday leave when he has been 
looking forward to it for a week, and all on account of a 
trifle — well, anyway — afterward whenever I noticed that 
any one was setting out to harass and torment the men — 
there was hone of that in my regiment later; they knew 
that I was there and that I wouldn't have it. To bark at 
the men once in awhile, even to make it pretty strong at 
times, to send them to the guard-room, that does no harm — 
but to torment a man — it takes a mean chap to do that! " 



NOBLE BLOOD 139. 

' ' Very true, ' ' shouted the tapster from the background, 
thus betraying the fact that he had followed the Colonel's 
tale. 

The old man calmed down and continued. 

' ' Things all went on like that for about a year and then 
came the time for the examinations and that was always a 
most important time. 

" The seniors took the ensign's examination and the 
special students, who, as I said, were also called the 
'bullies,' took the officer's examination, and as soon as it 
was over they were sent home out of the cadet corps, and 
so for a time only the juniors were left and they were pro- 
moted into the senior class. 

" That lasted till the new juniors entered from the pre- 
paratory schools and the newly appointed ' bullies ' came, 
and then the wheels all went round again as before. But in 
the interval 'there was more or less disorder and especially 
when the last detachment of seniors left — they were exam- 
ined and sent off in batches — everything was in confusion. 

" Now in the room where the two brothers slept there 
was a senior who was known among the other cadets as a 
dandy. He had made up his mind that as soon as he had 
passed his examination and got out into the world he would 
play the fine gentleman; so instead of using one of the 
sword-belts that were provided for us cadets at the school, 
he had had one of his own made ; it was of patent leather, 
narrower, and more elegant than the ordinary belts fur- 
nished by the government. He could afford to do things 
like that, for he use4 to have money sent him from home. 

"He had shown the sword-belt to everybody, for he 
was disgracefully proud of it, and the other cadets had 
admired it. 

" Now when the day came for him to pack up his belong- 
ings and leave for home, he wanted to buckle on his sword- 
belt and — it was not there. 

" There was a great hue and cry; we hunted everywhere; 
the sword-belt could not be found. The senior had not put 



140 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

it in his locker buit had laid it down Avith his helmet in the 
bedroom where the cadets' helmets stood merely covered 
by a curtain — and it had disappeared from there. 

" There was no other possibility — some one must have 
taken it. 

" But who could it have been? 

' ' First we thought of the old attendant who cleaned the 
cadets' boots and kept the dormitory in order, but he was 
an old former non-commissioned officer who had never been 
guilty of the slighitesit irregularity in all his long life. 
Might it have been one of the cadets, impossible as that 
seemed? But who would even think of such a thing? So 
the matter remained a mystery and a foul one at that. The 
senior swore and stormed because now he should have to 
go off with the government sword-belt after all ; the other 
cadets in the room were silent and gloomy. They had aU 
opened their lockers at once and asked the senior to look 
in them, but he had merely answered, ' that's absurd — 
whofever would think of anything like that ! ' 

"And then something very remarkable happened, some- 
thing that made more of a sensation than what had gone 
before ; all at once the senior got his sword-belt back again. 

' ' He had already left the room with his bag in his hand 
and was on his way downstairs when suddenly some one 
called him from behind and when he turned there was 
Little L running after him with something in his hand — 
and that was the senior's sword-belt. 

"A few of the others happened to be passing and they 
said afterward that Little L was as white as a corpse and 
that his limbs actually shook, he was trembling so. He 
said something in the senior's ear and the two exchanged 
a few words in whispers and then the senior stroked Little 
L 's head, took off his regulation belt, buckled on the hand- 
some one and went ; he gave Little L the other to carry back. 

' ' Well, of course the affair could not remain a secret 
after that and it soon became known. 

" There had been a re-assignment of rooms; Big L had 



NOBLE BLOOD 141 

to move and just while all the excitement was going on he 
had carried his things into his new room. 

"Afterward the cadets remembered that he had been 
remarkably quiet about it — but we all know how that is; 
after the grass is high then everybody remembers having 
heard it grow. But so much was true : he had not let any- 
body help him and when Little L took a hand he had spoken 
quite crossly to his little brother. But Little L, ready to 
help as he always was, had not allowed that to deter him 
and as he took his brother's canvas gymnasium jacket out 
of his locker he suddenly felt something hard carefully 
folded up in it — and that was the senior's sword-belt. 

" What the brothers said to each other at that moment, 
or whether they spoke at all, nobody ever knew, for Little L 
had enough presence of mind to leave the room in silence. 
He was scarcely outside the door and in the passage before 
he threw the jacket on the floor and, without thinking of 
the consequences, ran after the senior, with the sword-belt. 

"And then, of course, there was nothing to be done; in 
five minutes the story was common property in the com- 
pany. The devil had got hold of Big L and made him light- 
fingered. 

" Half an hour later the word went quietly round from 
room to room : ' We are all to meet in council tonight after 
the lamps are out, in the company hall. ' 

" In the quarters of every company there was one larger 
room where reports were given out and other public cere- 
monies went on, that was called the company hall. 

" So in the evening, when the lamps were out and every- 
thing was quite dark the cadets streamed out of all the 
rooms down the passage ; no door was allowed to slam and 
every one was in sitocking feet, for the Captain and the 
other officers did not know anything yet and must not know 
anything of the meeting or we should have had a grand 
blowing up. 

' ' When we came to the door of the company hall a boy 
was standing against the wall by the door and he was as 



142 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

white as the plaster of the wall itself — that was Little L. 
A few of the others took his hand at once. ' Little L can 
come in, too,' they said, 'it isn't his fault.' There was 
only one boy who opposed that — a big, tall fellow called — 
names don't matter — well, he was called K. But he was 
overridden at once, Little L was taken in, a couple of tallow 
candles were lighted and stood on the table and then the 
council began." 

The Colonel's glass had become empty. I filled it and 
he took a deep draught. 

"Any one that likes can laugh at all that now," he went 
on, " but I can say this much, that we weren't in the least 
inclined to laugh ; we felt quite uncanny. A cadet who was 
a rascal — that was horrible. All the cadets' faces were 
pale and they spoke only half aloud. Usually it was con- 
sidered abominably mean for one cadet to denounce another 
to their superiors — but if any one did such a 1;hing as 
actual stealing, then he was no longer a cadet to us and so 
we were to consider whether we should report to the Cap- 
tain what Big L had done. 

— '^-The-tafftellow called K spoke first. He declared that 
we must certainly go to the Captain and tell him everything, 
for when it came to such low conduct all consideration was 
at an end. Tall K was the biggest and strongest boy in 
the company; consequently his words made a particular 
impression and at the bottom we others were of the same 
opinion. 

" For that reason no one had any reply to make and a 
general silence followed. But at that moment the row that 
stood round the table parted and Little L, who till then 
had squeezed himself into the farthermost comer of the 
room, stepped into the circle. His arms hung limp at his 
sides, his head was bent, and he kept his gaze on the floor; 
we could see that he wanted to say something but could not 
pluck up courage to speak. 

" Tall K was ready again to lay down the law. ' L-2,' 
he said, ' has nothing to say here. ' 



NOBLE BLOOD 14^ 

" But that time he was not lucky in his remark. He hac 
always been hostile to the two, no one knew just why, par- 
ticularly to Little L. He was not at all popular either, f oi 
boys have a tremendously keen instinct, and they probablj 
felt that the fellow had a very mean, cowardly, miserabh 
soul in his big body. 

" He was one of those who never dare to attack boys oi 
their own size, but ill-treat smaller and weaker ones. 

" Consequently his remark was followed by whispers 
from all sides. 

" ' Little L shall speak! That's all the more reason whj 
he should speak ! ' 

' ' When the boy, who was still standing there rigid and 
motionless, heard how his comrades took his part, big tears 
suddenly began to run down his cheeks; he clenched botl 
his fists and dug them into his eyes sobbing so frightfuUj 
that his whole body shook from top to toe and he couldn'1 
get out a word. 

" One of the others went up to him and patted him or 
the back. 

" * Pull yourself together,' he said, ' what is it that yon 
want to say? ' 

" Little L still went on sobbing. 

'"If — he is reported — ,' he finally gasped between sobs, 
' he'll be turned out of the corps — and what is to become 
of him then? ' 

' ' There was silence ; we knew that the boy was right and 
that that would be the result if we reported his brother. 
And we also knew that his father was poor, and involun- 
tarily each one of us thought what his father would say ii 
he learnt that his son had done such a thing. 

"'But you must see, yourself,' the cadet went on tc 
Little L, ' that your brother has. done a low, mean thin? 
and deserves to be punished.' 

" Little L nodded dumbly; his mind fully agreed with 
those who accused his brother. The cadet thought a mo- 
ment, then he turned to the others. 



144 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" ' I have a proposal to make,' lie said, ' don't let us make 
L-1 unhappy for his whole life, unless it can't be helped. 
Let us see whether he still has any decent feeling in him. 
L-1 shall choose himself whether he would rather that we 
should report him or that we should keep the thing to our- 
selves, give him a good flogging and then bury the whole 
matter. ' 

" That was a capital way out. Every one agreed eagerly. 

' ' The cadet laid his hand on Little L 's shoulder. ' Go 
on, then,' he said, ' and tell your brother to come here.' 

" Little L dried his tears and nodded his head quickly — 
then he was gone and a moment later he was back again 
with his brother. 

" Big L didn't dare to look any one in the face; he stood 
before his comrades like an ox that has been struck on the 
head. Little L stood behind him and did not take his eyes 
off his brother. 

' ' The cadet who had made the proposal just before began 
to examine L-1. 

" He asked him whether he admitted having taken the 
sword-belt. 

" He admitted it. 

' ' Did he feel that he had done something that made him 
unworthy to be a cadet any longer? 

' ' He did feel so. 

' ' Would he rather that we should report him to the Cap- 
tain or thrash him soundly and then bury the affair once 
for all? 

" He would rather take the thrashing. 

'* A sigh of relief passed through the whole room. 

' ' It vras decided to settle the thing then and there. 

' ' A cadet was sent to fetch one of the canes that we used 
to beat our clothes. 

' ' While he was gone we tried to persuade Little L to 
leave the haU so that he might not be present at the pun- 
ishment. 

' ' But he shook his head in silence ; he wanted to stay. 



NOBLE BLOOD 145 

" As soon as the cane had been brought Big L was made 
to lie down on his stomach on the table, two cadets took 
hold of his hands and pulled him forward, two others held 
his feet, so that his body was stretched out at full length. 

' ' The tallow candles were taken from the table and held 
up high and then the whole scene was positively horrible. 

" Tall K was to execute justice because he was the 
strongest ; he took the cane in his hand, stepped to the side 
of the table and brought the stick down with all his strength 
on Big L who was clad only in his canvas jacket and 
trousers. 

" The boy actually reared under the frightful blow and 
was about to scream, but at that moment Little L rushed 
up to him, took his head in both his hands and pressed it 
to him. 

" * Don't scream,' he whispered to hitn, ' don't scream, 
or the whole thing will come out. ' 

" Big L swallowed the scream and gurgled and groaned 
half aloud to himself. 

"Again taU K raised the stick and a second blow sounded 
through the room. 

" The boy's body fairly writhed on the table so that the 
cadets were scarcely able to keep hold of his hands and feet. 
Little L had thrown both arms round his brother's head 
and hugged it with convulsive strength. His eyes were 
wide open and staring, his face was like the plaster on the 
wall, his whole body trembled. 

' ' The whole room was as silent as death so that only the 
gasping and groaning of the boy who was being punished 
was heard and his little brother smothered that against his 
breast; all eyes were fixed on the lad; we all had the feeling 
that we could not look on much longer without interfering. 

" So when the third blow had fallen and the same scene 
that had followed the second blow was repeated, excited 
whispers arose all over the room, ' now it's enough — don't 
strike again ! ' 
Vol. XVII — 10 



146 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

' ' Tall K, who had grown quite red from his exertions, 
was preparing to deliver a fourth blow, but all at once 
three or four of the cadets threw themselves between Big L 
and him, tore the cane out of his hand and pushed him back, 

" Big L was released; he got up slowly and stood beside 
the table as if broken ; Little L stood beside him. 

' ' Justice had been done. 

* ' The cadet who had spoken before raised his voice again, 
but still spoke only half aloud. 

* ' ' Now the affair is over and buried, ' he said, ' every 
one of us will now shake hands with L-1, and whoever says 
another word about this matter is a scoundrel. ' 

"A general ' yes, yes ' showed that the others were in 
thorough agreement with what he said. The cadets came 
forward and shook hands with Big L and then, as if at a 
word of command, they all rushed at Little L. There was 
a regular scrimmage around th« boy, for every one wanted 
to shake his hand and press it. Those on the outside of 
the throng reached in over the others' shoulders. Some 
of the boys even climbed up on the table to get at him; 
they stroked his head, patted his shoulders and back, and 
all the time a general whisper went on : ' Little L, you 
splendid little chap, you splendid Little L.' " 

The old Colonel raised his glass to his lips — there seemed 
to be something in his throat that he had to wash down. 
When he set his glass on the table again he sighed from 
deep down in his chest. 

" Boys like that," he said, " have instinct — instinct and 
feeling. 

* ' The lights were blown out, the boys crept softly back 
through the passage to their rooms ; five minutes later they 
were all in bed and everything was over. 

" The Captain and the other officers hadn't heard a sound. 

" Everything was over," — the narrator's voice grew 
heavy; he had thrust both his hands into his trousers' 
pockets and gazed into space through the smoke that rose 
from the burning cigar. 



NOBLE BLOOD Wt 

" So we thought that night when we went to bed. 

" I wonder whether Little L slept that night. He didn'1 
look as if he had next day when we met in the class room 

* * Before that it used to seem as if a hobgoblin were sit 
ting in his place, joking across the whole class — now there 
seemed to be a gap — he sat there perfectly quiet and pale 

" Just as if you'd rubbed the bloom off a butterfly's 
wing's — that's how it was with the boy — I can't describe 
it any other way. 

" From then on he was always seen walking with his 
brother in the afternoon. He probably felt that now, more 
than ever, Big L would have difficulty in finding some one 
to join him — for that reason he made himself his com 
panion. And so they went, arm in arm, all round the 
Square Court and across the yard where the trees stand 
both of them with their eyes on the ground; they coulc 
rarely be seen exchanging even a word with each other.' 

Again there was a pause in the tale, again I had to fil. 
the Colonel's empty glass, and the cigar smoke rose thickei 
than ever. 

"All that, however," he went on, " might perhaps have 
been lived down in the course of time — but people! " 

He laid his clenched fist on the table. 

" There are people," he said grimly, " who are like e 
poisonous weed in the grass that kills the cattle when thej 
eat it. Such people are poison to others. 

' ' Well, one day we were reciting in physics. The mastei 
was showing us experiments with the electrical apparatus 
and was about to conduct an electric current through the 
whole class. 

" To that end we each had to take hold of the next boy's 
hand to form the circuit. 

" Now when Big L, who was sitting beside the tall felloe 
K, held out his hand to the latter the lout made a face as 
if he were being asked to take hold of a toad, and dre-w 
his hand back. 



148 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

' ' Big L sank back in his seat without a word and sat 
there crimson with shame. 

" But at the same moment Little L got up from his place, 
went round his brother, squeezed into the latter 's place 
beside tall K, seized his hand and brought it down on the 
bench with all his strength so that the great bully screamed 
with the sudden pain. 

' ' Then he grabbed the little fellow by the throat and the 
two began a regular fight right in the middle of the class. 

" The master, who had still been tinkering with the 
machine, now rushed up with fluttering coat-tails. 

'"Why! Why! Why 1 ' he cried. 

" He was an old man and we did not stand much in awe 
of him. 

' ' The two boys held each other in such a clinch that they 
didn't let go, although the master was standing directly in 
front of them. 

" ' How disgraceful! ' cried the master. ' How disgrace- 
ful ! Let go of each other instantly. ' 

*' Tall K made a face as if he wanted to start blubbering. 

" ' L-2 began,' he said, ' although I didn't do a thing to 
him.' 

"Little L stood up straight in his place — we always 
had to stand up when the master spoke to us — a big drop 
of sweat ran down each of his temples; he said nothing; 
his teeth were clenched so hard that you could see the 
muscles of his jaws through his narrow cheeks. When he 
heard what tall K said a smile passed over his face — I've 
never seen anything like it. 

" The old master continued for some time to give his 
views, in well-rounded sentences, about such shameful im- 
propriety, spoke of the abyss of inward brutality that such 
behavior indicated — we let him talk; our minds were occu- 
pied with Little L and tall K. 

" The period was scarcely over and the master out of the 
room before a book came flying through the air, from the 



NOBLE BLOOD Ui 

back, across the whole class, right against tall K's head 
and when he turned furiously toward his assailant anothei 
book came flying from the other side at his head and thei 
a general yell broke out : ' Knock him down ! Knock hin 
down ! ' The whole class jumped up, scrambled across 
tables and benches to get at tall K, and when they had hin 
they tanned the big bully's hide till it fairly smoked." 

The old Colonel smiled to himself with grim satisfactioi 
and looked at his clenched fist which still lay on the table 

"I did my share," he said, "and thoroughly — I car 
say that." 

It seemed as if his hand had forgotten that it had growr 
fifty years older; the fingers that were closed so convul 
sively showed that in spirit it was still belaboring tall K. 

"But as such people always are," he continued; " oi 
course this tall fellow K was a revengeful, vindictive 
treacherous villain. He would have liked best to peach, 
to go to the Captain and tell him the whole story from the 
beginning — but he didn't dare to do that, on our account; 
he was too much of a coward. 

" But that he had been licked by the whole class and thai 
it was Little L's fault he never forgot, and treasured it up 
against Little L. 

" Well, one afternoon at recess the cadets were walking 
about the grounds as usual ; the two brothers were together, 
as always ; tall K was walking arm in arm with two others. 

" To get from the Square Court to the yard where the 
trees are you had to go through the archway that was cut 
in one of the wings of the main building and it was one of 
the rules that the cadets must not walk there arm in arm, 
so that the way should not be blocked. 

" Now on that afternoon, as ill luck would have it, tall K, 
going through from the Square Court to the yard with his 
two companions, met the brothers under the arch and they, 
absorbed in their thoughts, had forgotten to let go of each 
other's arms. 



150 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

"As soon as he saw that, tall K, although it was none of 
his business, stopped, opened his eyes wide and his mouth 
still wider and yelled at them : ' What do you mean by 
walking here arm in arm? Do you want to block the way 
for decent people, you gang of thieves? ' " 

The Colonel interrupted himself, 

" That's fifty years ago," he said, " and more — but I 
remember it as if it had happened yesterday. 

' ' I was just walking round the Square Court with two 
others and suddenly, from the arch, we heard a scream — 
I simply can't describe how it sounded — when a tiger or 
some other wild animal breaks out of its cage and leaps 
on a man, then, I imagine you might hear something like it. 

" It was so horrible that we three let our arms drop and 
stood there as if turned to stone. And not only we ; every 
one who was in the Square Court stood still and suddenly 
they were all silent. And then every one raced toward the 
arch and others came from the yard so that the scene was 
black with cadets and a scrambling swarm surged about 
the entrances. Of course I was in the thick of it — and 
what did I see? 

" Little L had climbed up tall K just like a wildcat. He 
was hanging onto the latter 's collar with his left hand, so 
that the tall fellow was half-strangled, and with his right 
fist he was hammering him, smash — smash — smash — 
right in tall K's face wherever he happened to hit him, so 
that the blood streamed out of his nose like a waterfall. 

' ' Then the officer on duty came from the yard and made 
a way for himself through the cadets. 

" ' L-2, let go at once,' he thundered — he was a great 
tall fellow with a voice that could be heard from one end 
of the school to the other and we stood as much in awe of 
him as of the devil. 

" But Little L didn't hear and didn't see; he went on 
pounding tall K's face and at the same time there came 
again and again the fearful piercing shriek that went 
through and through us all. 



NOBLE BLOOD 151 

' ' When the officer saw that he interfered himself, seizec 
the boy by both shoulders and dragged him away fron 
tall K by force. 

"As soon as he stood on his feet, however, Little L roUec 
his eyes, fell full length on the ground and writhed ia con- 
vulsions. 

" We had never seen anything like that and we looked or 
in amazement and horror. 

' ' The officer who had bent over him stood upright again : 
* The boy has terrible convulsions,' he said. ' Forward 
two take his feet ' — he himself lifted his shoulders — ' ovei 
to the hospital. ' 

" And so they carried Little L into the hospital. 

" While they were taking him away we went up to Big L 
to find out what had really happened and from him and th€ 
two cadets who had been walking with tall K we heard tht 
whole story. 

" Tall K stood there like a beaten cur, wiping the blooc 
from his nose, and if it hadn't been for that nothing coulc 
have saved him from another murderous thrashing. As i1 
was, every one turned away from him in silence, no on« 
spoke a word to him: he had shown himself to be £ 
scoundrel." 

The table resounded with the blow the Colonel gave i1 
with his fist. 

" How long the others kept him an outlaw," he said, 
" I don't know. I sat in the same class with him for s 
whole year after that and never spoke to him again. W« 
entered the army at the same time as ensigns; I did no1 
give him my hand at parting. I don't know whether ht 
rose to be an officer. I never looked for his name in the 
list of promotions. I don't know whether he fell in one 
of the wars, whether he is still alive or dead — for me he 
no longer existed, no longer exists — the only thing thai 
I regret is that the blackguard ever came into my life anc 
that I can't tear out the recollection of him like a weed thai 
you throw into the fire ! 



152 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

' ' Next morning bad news came from the hospital : Little L 
lay unconscious with a severe case of nervous fever. In 
the afternoon Big L was sent for, but his little brother did 
not recognize him again. 

"And in the evening when we were sitting at supper in 
the big common dining room a rumor went through the hall 
like a big, black bird flying inaudibly — Little L was dead. 

' ' When we went back from the dining room to the com- 
pany quarters our Captain was standing at the door of the 
company hall ; we were told to go in, and there the Captain 
announced to us that our little comrade L-2 had fallen 
asleep that evening not to awake again. 

" The Captain was a very good man — he died a brave 
hero's death in 1866 — he loved his cadets and when he 
made his announcement he had to brush the tears off his 
beard. Then he commanded us to fold our hands; one of 
us had to step forward and repeat the Lord's Prayer aloud 
before us all — " 

The Colonel bowed his head. 

" Then, for the first time," he said, " I felt how beautiful 
' Our Father ' really is. 

"And then, the next afternoon, the door leading from the 
hospital to the athletic field was opened, that evil, ominous 
door. 

' ' We had to go down to the hospital yard, we were to 
see our dead comrade once more. 

' ' Our steps tramped and resounded as we were led over 
to the hospital; no one spoke a word; nothing was heard 
but heavy breathing. 

' ' And there lay Little L, poor Little L. 

' ' He lay there in his little white shirt, his hands folded 
on his breast, his blond locks curling about his brow which 
was as white as wax ; his cheeks were so fallen in that his 
fine, saucy little nose stood out prominently — and in his 
face — the expression — " 

The old Colonel stopped speaking, his breath came 
pantingly. 



NOBLE BLOOD 15c 

" I've grown to be an old man," lie resumed, speaking 
in jerks. ' ' I have seen men lying on battlefields — mer 
on whose faces despair and agony were written — but sue! 
heartfelt suffering as there was in that child's face I hav( 
never seen again, never — never." 

Absolute silence reigned in the wine tavern in which we 
sat. When the old Colonel ceased speaking and did no1 
go on, the tapster came quietly out of his corner and HI 
the gas that hung above our heads ; it had grown quite dark 

I lifted the wine bottle again, but it was almost empty— 
only one more tear flowed out of it — a last drop of nobh 
blood. 




HERMANN SUDERMANN 

By M. BiiAKBMOBE Evans, Ph.D. 

Professor of German, Ohio State University 

«grman ^ the average American reader and theatre-goer 
Grerman literature of the last quarter of a 
century is embodied in the work of two men, 
Gerhart Hauptmann and Hermann Suder- 
mann. 

Hauptmann and Sudermann — the two names slip off the 
tongue almost as readily as Goethe and Schiller. And yet 
how little we know of these two protagonists of the new 
and the modem in German letters. To most of us it is as 
if the two were one personality, though if pushed into a 
comer we should confess to a feeling that Sudermann is 
the easier to follow, the more intelligible. - And if this 
feeling were further analyzed it would result simply in the 
admission that we had seen and read more of Sudermann 
than of Hauptmann. 

If this first rather vague feeling is true, what is its 
source? And why have we seen and read more of Suder- 
mann than of Hauptmann ? One is tempted to answer both 
questions categorically: because Hermann Sudermann is 
the lesser poet. But this, though true, is not the whole 
truth. Sudermann 's art has not the severe chastity, the 
complete contempt for mere effect, of Hauptmann 's. It 
is often prurient, always theatrical, but it is effective. 
The infinitely sensitive Hauptmann, possessing to a high 
degree the intuition and fervor of a prophet, is the poet; 
Sudermann, more robust, more masculine, is also a poet, 
but at the same time — a journalist; and a journalist 
with a tendency, which unfortunately, in the later phases 
of his development, seemed at one time to be growing on 
him, toward the sensational, toward " yellow journalism." 

[154] 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 15£ 

I would not underrate the value of this journalistic veir 
in Sudermann's genius. It explains to a great extent hig 
extraordinary popularity. It enables him to pick those 
types out of the ' ' passing show ' ' which are so character- 
istic of our own day and to reproduce them with a definite- 
ness and exactness that is amazing. These people we know 
they are our acquaintances, though not, we add with g 
Pharisaical sigh of relief, our friends. 

There is also another element in Sudermann whicl 
explains his great vogue, especially in countries beyond thf 
German boundaries — in France, England, America. His 
critics call it compromise, his friends cosmopolitanism 
Both are right. Though the first German dramatist tc 
present the new doctrine of realism from a public theatre 
Sudermann never was a ' ' dyed-in-the-wool " realist. Evei 
in his first play the masterly stage-craft, the brilliant style 
the pointed dialogue of the school of Dumas fils vie wit! 
and at times almost overshadow the cult of the new realism 
whose triumphant banner inscribed with the names of Zola 
Ibsen, and Leo Tolstoy had been but recently unfurled ir 
Germany. Sudermann was merely flirting with realism: 
since then he has flirted with Nietzsche 's conception of the 
Superman, he has flirted with symbolism ; but his real love 
has remained all the while ' ' la belle France. ' ' More thai 
any other great German writer save only Heinrich Heine. 
Sudermann is imbued with the spirit and the technique oi 
the French. Naturally his welcome in France was ai 
enthusiastic one, and the rest was easy, for the English and 
we of America are still accustomed to accept the judgmeni 
of Paris as final in things literary. 

The story of Sudermann's life may be written in a single 
sentence. He was born in the small village of Matzikei 
in far away East Prussia and close to the Russian frontier 
on September 30, 1857, and twenty years later, in 1877 
he came to Berlin; in comparison with these two facts 
all else is insignificant. To be sure, for a time, since 
his parents were poor, he was apprenticed to a chemist 



156 THE GEEMA2^ CLASSICS 

In some way he managed to secure the excellent training 
of the Prussian secondary schools and even spent a couple 
of years at the University of Konigsberg. But what of it? 
All that really counts is his youth spent on the moors, on 
the fields and in the woods of his East Prussian home, and 
his manhood in Berlin, where day and night, especially 
night, he drank down with feverish haste great draughts 
of the knowledge of good and evil. ' ' But the sum of evil 
was greater than the sum of good." Listen: 

" The moonlight drew him out upon the heath. In the silence of mid- 
night it lay there ; only a garden warbler on the heather-twigs chirped now 
and then as in sleep. The campions bent their reddish heads — and the 
muUen glistened as though it would outshine the moonlight. 

" Slowly, with dragging steps, he advanced, at times stumbling over 
mole-hiUs or entangling himself in creepers. In glowing sparks the dew 
sprayed out ahead of him. So he came close to the juniper bushes, which 
appeared more than ever like elves. 

" Like to some black wall the wood towers up before him, and on it 
rested the moonlight like fresh fallen snow." * 

But listen again, this time to a conversation between the 
artist Riemann and the author Dr. Weisse, taken from the 
drama The Destruction of Sodom. Eiemann has just seen 
for the first time the famous painting of his former friend 
and fellow student, Willy Janikow: 

" Riemann. And what is he doing now ? 

Weisse. Why you just heard. — He dances quadrilles and cuts out 
costumes. 

Riemann. For God's sake, be serious ! 

Weisse. In all seriousness, my dear sir. 

Riemann. You frighten me ! 

Weisse. Gad, you know, it's not half so bad. There's a place 
where the growth of almost every individual halts • • • 
and rightly so. * • " Look at me! In the provinces I'm 
called a celebrity, and if you open up a paper you'll be certain 
to find my name. • • • And nevertheless, I'm down and 
out. * • • jiy verse is poisoned. • • • jjot an idea 
can I get; so I've turned critic. The dog has quit his howling 
and gone to biting. • • * Qh, what a chap I was in those 



* From Dame Care, Sudermann's first novel. 




HERMANN SUDERMANN 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 157 

days, when in every German bookcase the plaxse of honor stood 
open to me beside Henrietta Davidis' Cook-book and the Family 
Buchholz! * * * How it bubbled and boiled! * * * Bui 
now! * • * dregs, marasmus, senility, my soul's dead; 

9 * * 

EiEMANN. And Willy Janikow? 
Weisse. Yes — same as I. 
EiEMANN. But how? — What, by what means? 
Weisse. Oh, you naive soul — by what means the man goes to the 
dogs ! He doesn't know ! " 

In sharp contrast we see here the two phases of Suder- 
mann's nature, so incompatible that it seems scarcely pos- 
sible that both can exist side by side in one man — on the 
one hand the romanticist reveling in the beauties of naturej 
on the other the bitter satirist, the pessimist. That suci 
strange bedfellows may take up their lodgings in the soul 
of one poor mortal we know; I need only point again to 
Heine. But is Sudermanu a twentieth century Heine, is 
his poetry a reincarnation of that familiar smile and sneer 1 
In other words, are both the romanticist Sudermann and 
the pessimist Sudermann sincere? Or, is only the one 
genuine and the other a pose? And which? 

The smile is most evident, purest in the character of 
Hans Lorbass in The Three Heron-Plumes : 

Denn bei jedem grossen Werke, 
Das auf Erden wird vollbracht, 
Herrschen soil allein die Staerke, 
Herrschen soil allein, wer lacht. 

(Freely rendered it runs: For in the accomplishment of every great 
work of the world, strength alone shall rule, he alone shall rule, whc 
laughs.) 

More frequently, however, the smile is one of resignation, 
The curate Haffke, one of the minor characters of St. John't 
Fire, is speaking with the woman of his love, who has been 
irresistibly attracted to another: ''The most beautiful 
the greatest possession of man, is his melody^ — a certair 
melody that always rings, that his soul, waking or dream 
ing, always sings, loud or low, from within or without 



158 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Others say : his nature is so or so, his character is so or so, 
but he only smiles at it all, for he alone knows his melody. 
Yes, my life's fortune you have destroyed for me today, 
but my life 's melody you can 't take from me — that is pure 
and will stay pure. ' ' 

And the sneer: " It was an old custom of Niebeldingk's 
— a remembrance of his half out-lived Don Juan years — 
to send a bunch of Indian lilies to those women who had 
granted him their supreme favors. He always sent the 
flowers the next morning. Their symbolism was plain and 
delicate; in spite of what has taken place you are as lofty 
and as sacred in my eyes as these pallid, alien flowers whose 
home is beside the Ganges. Therefore have the kindness — 
not to annoy me with remorse." * 

Which is Sudermann, the real Sudermann — the sneer 
or the smile? Or, did the smile turn into a sneer? And is 
this sneer final or has it already given place again to the 
smile? Let us see. 

Sudermann 's purpose in coming to Berlin was to study 
literature, both within and without the University. After 
a while, however, we find him as a private tutor in the 
family of Hans Hopfen, a story-writer and novelist of some 
prominence. Later he entered the field of journalism, 
rising even to the lofty position of editor of a small popular 
weekly. He tried his hand at the drama, but his efforts 
proved flat failures. He has told us himself how these first 
fruits of his dramatic pen, beautifully copied and with 
broad white margins, were submitted to the director of the 
Residenstheater with the request that whatever was service- 
able be retained. The director kept the broad white mar- 
gins and returned the dramas. For ten years Sudermann 
bided his time, he waited and worked, but then his wheel 
of fortune began to turn — at first slowly but soon with 
amazing rapidity. The year 1887 witnessed the birth of 
the first of his literary offspring — twins: In the Gloam- 

* From The Indian Lily, a recent collection of short stories, translated 
into English by Ludwig Lewisohn, M.A., and published by B. W. Huebsoh, 
New York, 1911. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 15£ 

ing and Dame Care. They are twins in age but in nothing 
else. In the Gloaming is a collection of short stories, foi 
the most part frivolous, but told with a vivacity and charm 
that is none too frequent in German literature. De Mau- 
passant so evidently acted the part of god-father that on€ 
needs scarcely mention him. 

In the Gloaming was favorably received, but Dame Cart 
gave its author his first foothold in German literature, and 
now, on the eve of its hundred and fiftieth edition, maj 
justly claim a place of honor on that very small shelf ol 
books labeled " German Classical Novels." 

Over the cradle of the hero, Paul Meyhoefer, whose 
father was a braggart egotist and whose mother was s 
martyr, hovered the gray spectre Dame Care. 

"And the mother begged : ' Dear Dame Care, O give him free.' 
But Care smiled — and -whoever has seen her snulehas been forced 

to weep, and she said : * He must free himself.' 
' How can he do that? ' asked the mother. 
' He must sacrifice to me all that he loves,' said Dame Care." 

And upon this altar Paul heaps sacrifice after sacrifice 
In the eyes of the world he becomes a common drudge 
The mother slowly fades away into the shadow world anc 
the father becomes a helpless, drunken sot. Not yet is 
Dame Care appeased ; even the fruits of his own toU musi 
be offered. He becomes a self-confessed incendiary and 
knows that he is responsible for the death of his father 
But then the shackles fall away, he stands a free man — 
and the princess is still waiting. 

It would not be difficult to pick flaws in this masterpiece 
Occasionally it smacks of the melodrama, and occasionallj 
the action lags or is too long drawn out; but after all i1 
remains a great achievement. Every page bears the stamp 
of perfect sincerity. "Written as no other of Sudermann's 
works, from the heart, it speaks to the heart. 

Several other novels and short stories have followed, bul 
not one has reached the high level of Dame Care. In 188J 
appeared Brothers and Sisters, two tragic stories whicl 



160 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

treat the same problem from two points of view. The Tale 
of a Lonely Mill tells of two brothers and a wife, and The 
Wish, of two sisters and a husband. Of infinitely greater 
value, however, is Regina (1889), a story of the violence 
and crime that followed in the wake of the war of Libera- 
tion, 1813-14. Boleslav von Schranden, the worthy son 
of an unworthy father, is forced to drink to the bitter dregs 
the cup that was brewed for him. by the treason of this 
father. His only friend is the humble Eegina, an uncannily 
beautiful creature — one can scarcely call her human — of 
uncomplaining, dog-Hke faithfulness. In the days of the 
gay past she had been his father's mistress; it was she 
who had led the French soldiers, at her master's command, 
across the " Cats' Trail "* and so enabled them to surprise 
and massacre the Prussians. And all these years she has 
ministered to this master's needs, physical and sensual. 
Dragged through the deepest pools of hell, she emerges 
without sin. Body and soul she is part of the father's 
legacy to the son, and, thank God ! he lays no claim to the 
body. But the fight within is a bitter one — yes, and 
painted with an all too glaring minuteness. Regina is a 
powerful piece of workmanship; it holds one fast from 
beginning to end, but the after-taste is not sweet, not pure. 
lolanthe's Wedding (1892), full of grim humor, a capital 
picture of one of those massive, self-assertive squires of 
East Prussia — in their various phases Sudermann's favor- 
ite masculine type — scarcely counts. Nor need Once Upon 
a Time (1894) detain us. Through and through it is per- 
meated with a sultry atmosphere of sensuality. To be sure, 
in the end the Nietzschean gospel — repent nothing — is 
overthrown ; but before we reach this end our ideals are too 
completely shattered to recover. 

With Once Upon a Time Sudermann deserted the field of 
the novel for years, but he returned in 1908 with the start- 
ling Song of Songs, the psychological chronicle of a chaste 
prostitute, who ends her career by — marriage. The work- 

• i. e., Der Eatzensteg, which is also the title of the German version. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 161 

manship is wonderful and the theme, at least on the soak 
here presented, a new one, but still I doubt whether th€ 
Song of Songs may be regarded as a real contribution tc 
German literature. Even less fortunate is Sudermann's 
latest attempt in narrative prose. The Indian Lily (1911); 
a collection of short stories. 

It is the proper thing to rate the novelist Sudermanii 
above the dramatist, and it may be that in this case the 
judgment of the higher critics is correct. Certainly he has 
produced no drama as yet which, in loftiness of conceptior 
and excellence of execution, even approaches Dame Care. 
and yet the Sudermann craze was fanned into a flame bj 
the tremendous popularity of his dramas. The novel Dame 
Care made him known, but the drama Honor made him 
famous. Nor is the cause of this greater vogue of Suder- 
mann's dramas, especially in the case of the earlier, the 
really successful plays, difficult to explain. In the novel 
he is the cunning psychologist, patiently chronicling the 
victories and defeats of an individual soul. The problem 
may be one of universal importance, the background may 
be limned never so broadly; nevertheless our interest is 
centred on one or two individuals and we feel them as indi- 
vidual personalities. Not so in the dramas. Here the 
battle is waged on a larger stage. We sense the characters 
not so much as individuals as types. It is a clash of social 
conventions, a protest against the existing order of things — 
and who can resist the attraction of satire directed against 
those whom we have long envied or despised? It is this 
element of social satire in his dramas, combined with a 
masterly technique and a thorough knowledge of the stage 
as it actually is, that has made the dramatist Sudermann 
such a favorite with the theatre-loving public. 

The long list of dramas is opened by Honor, first played 
in November, 1889. Only a few weeks before Hauptmann's 
first play Before Sunrise had been given on the same stage, 
but as a private performance. Honor was the first Ger- 
man drama to present publicly the new doctrine of realism. 

Vol. XVII— 11 



162 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Eobert Heinecke, bom of the humblest parents, was edu- 
cated by the wealthy merchant Muehlingk, his father's 
employer. For ten years Robert has successfully repre- 
sented the firm in the far East and has now just returned. 
And how he has longed for home ! In what bright colors 
he has painted to himself this home, and he fin.ds — filth, 
deceit, dishonor. The young and romantic idealist had still 
to learn the bitter lesson that all moral values, all questions 
of personal honor, are merely relative. To his way of 
thinking Ms own lowly family, the dwellers of the rear- 
house, bear the mark of shame, branded upon them by the 
family of the rich merchant who dwell in the front-house; 
and, even more galling, they feel no shame ! Money is the 
balm. Money so patches up even the lost honor of his 
sister that the injured article has a greater commerdal 
value than the original. 

The conflict in the soul of the young Heinecke is sharply 
drawn, the tragedy of his position is apparent, there seems 
to be but one outcome possible, and yet the curtain falls 
upon a happy couple. Robert has a friend, the " coffee- 
king ' ' Count Trast, who has lived through all this in his 
own experience. At every critical moment he appears, like 
some beneficent deus ex machina, and the Gordian knots 
slip loose. The filthy money, the price of his sister's 
shame, Robert hurls back into the face of the wealthy mer- 
chant — he has borrowed it from his friend for this purpose. 
The merchant's daughter, a goodly maiden, throws herself 
upon Robert's neck — of course she has loved him from 
childhood — and Count Trast completes his shower of bless- 
ings. Robert becomes his partner.* 

It all sounds ridiculous, melodramatic to a degree, and 
yet the play proved wonderfully effective. It seemed so 
new — and yet was it ? The conflict between the front and 



* I have sometimes wondered if this surprising denouement were not per- 
haps influenced by the version of Ibsen's A Doll's House which during the 
eighties played in Berlin with a happy ending. Nora is on the point of 
leaving the house, when she suddenly hears the voices of the children. She 
hesitates, mother-love asserts itself, she remains. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 163 

rear houses is as old as the bourgeois drama itself. A hun- 
dred years before Honor the German classic of this type 
had appeared in Schiller's Love and Intrigue, for surely 
front and rear houses are today as indicative of class dis- 
tinction as was the little word von a hundred years ago 
Nor was there anything new or strange in the character ol 
Count Trast, the typical confidant of the French theatre; 
while the unscrupulous merchant, brxitally rich, was ar 
international type. "What then was new? Simply anc 
solely the inmates of the rear-house, characters who noi 
only in their outlook upon life, but even in the details oi 
their speech, were drawn true to life. They were the verj 
flesh and blood of the proletariat. The milieu of the rear 
house was painted with the minute brush of the realist 
all else was of the old school. From the viewpoint of dra 
matic criticism Honor is then a compromise. But let ui 
give the devil his due. Sudermann had accomplished th( 
biblically impossible — he had poured new wine into olc 
skins and the skins did not burst. 

Excitement ran high on the eve of the premiere of Suder 
mann's second play. The Destruction of Sodom (1891) — 
an excitement that was artificially fanned by a temporary 
prohibition on the part of the censor. But the play was 
a disappointment. In technique it was undoubtedly fai 
superior to Honor, but, unfortunately for its success, th( 
author had chosen the " upper four hundred " as the targe 
of his satire. That his arrows sped true, the result proved 
the " upper four hundred " sulked at home and the drams 
was withdrawn. " Sodom's End, Sudermann 's End " wer( 
the winged words that passed from mouth to mouth. 

Not a whit daunted, though profiting by the failure o: 
Ms second play, Sudermann brought out, two years latei 
(1893), his Magda {Heimat is the German title), his mos 
widely known and most popular play. Again, as in Honor 
it is the story of a home-coming. This time it is th< 
daughter. Magda had been driven from her home in on< 
of the principal cities of the provinces — Konigsberg ii 



164 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

doubtless intended — by the capricious autocratic demands 
of her father, a Prussian officer of the old school whose 
mental horizon wqs as narrow as his life was convention- 
ally correct. It had been a bitter struggle with life, but 
she emerges, not spotless to be sure, but nevertheless victor. 
As a world-famed prima donna she returns to her native 
city unknown, but of course is discovered; indeed, she 
desires nothing else. Almost willingly she submits to the 
will of her father, until the demands take on such propor- 
tions that her own self-respect is endangered. She has 
earned the right to live her own life, and for the second 
time refuses to obey. In his anger the father would mur- 
der his own child, when he is stricken down by a power 
mightier than he. But no words of forgiveness pass from 
Ms dying lips. 

Magda, as Honor, is a conflict of two worlds. In Magda 
the world of rigid convention does battle with the demand 
of the individual for opportunity of free development. As 
Kuno Francke says : " It is one of those literary thunder- 
clouds which are charged with the social and intellectual 
electricity of a whole age. ' ' In dramatic structure Magda 
offers perhaps more points of attack than most of Suder- 
mann's plays — e. g. how opportunely the characters come 
and go, almost like puppets in the hands of a showman. 
But when one witnesses a performance of the play with a 
Sarah Bernhardt or a Duse in the title role all this is for- 
gotten. One sees only the glorious, noble woman. 

With Magda Sudermann scored his last great success. 
He has given us, however, a number of plays of somewhat 
similar character, one and all satires of society. The Battle 
of the Butterflies (1895), styled a comedy, but with very 
little of the comic about it. Happiness in a Nook (1896), 
in which one of Sudermann 's east Prussian giants does his 
best to break in upon the " Happiness " and to destroy the 
' ' Nook ' ' ; even after the curtain falls, one cannot but wonder 
if he won't succeed. Fritschen (1896), the second of the 
three one-act plays in the collection, entitled Morituri, 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 161 

depicts a boy lieutenant doomed to death because in carry 
ing out his father's bidding he has sown his wild oats toe 
freely, and who now goes forth to meet his fate with £ 
smile on his lips. St. John's Fire (1900), extremely melo 
dramatic and improbable, an unintended caricature of fret 
love, closing with the marriage ceremony of one of the prin 
cipals. The Joy of Living (1902), which I would prefei 
to call !' The Survival of the Fittest," a picture of conven 
tional high life, and next to Magda, the most popular oi 
Sudermann's plays upon the English and American stage 
Der Sturmgeselle Sokrates — one might translate it Citiseri 
Socrates — (1903), a comedy, with its beginnings in thf 
Revolution of 1848, but a sad caricature of a movement thai 
was full of the loftiest political idealism. It is justly repu- 
diated even by the poet's warmest admirers. Stone among 
Stones (1905), in my opinion decidedly the strongest of al] 
these later social dramas. It represents the struggles, 
finally crowned with success, of a former convict to gair 
the right to win his daily bread honestly. The Float 
(1905), reminiscent, in a way, of The Destruction of Sodom. 
but without the ghastly conclusion of the earlier play; in 
this drama Sudermann undertakes the bold venture of 
introducing in an interlude the broad jests of the " caba- 
ret." Roses (1907), a collection of four one-act plays in 
which the graceful and delicately humorous Far-away Prin- 
cess contrasts strangely with the more sombre, blood and 
guilt stained Roses of its companions. 

Nor does this complete the list. The many-sided author 
has tried his hand at the strictly historical drama and also 
at the fantastic drama of symbolism and the Maerchen. 
His first venture in the field of history was Teja (1896), 
the first of the one-act plays in the collection Morituri. 
The last of the kings of the Ostrogoths is doomed with all 
his people to certain death, but it is a death only of the 
body. The lofty heroism of the wives, silently consecrat- 
ing their husbands with the kiss of death, renders the 
defeat of the flesh a victory of the spirit. It is one of the 



166 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

noblest productions of Sudermann's genius. In 1898 fol- 
lowed the second of the historical group, John the Baptist, 
a psychological study of the biblical character. He is rep- 
resented as a stern prophet of the Old Testament, whose 
faith demands " an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." 
And now from all sides is borne in upon him a new doc- 
trine of love. Wherever he turns, love meets him in some 
one of its many guises. He speaks, indeed, with ' ' the 
tongues of men and of angels " but has not charity, and so 
must "become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." 
The psychological treatment of the familiar character has 
naturally challenged comparison with the Herodes und 
Mariamne of Friedrich Hebbel, the master of the psycho- 
logical drama, and not to the advantage of Sudermann. 
The last of the group is The Beggar of Syracuse (1911), 
a semi-historical tragedy in blank verse, dealing with the 
wars between Syracuse and Carthage. It is Sudermann's 
only attempt in the Shakespearian style and not entirely 
successful — one feels through it all the nervous pulse of 
the twentieth century. In the title role, however, he has 
created a figure of genuine dramatic force. 

Midway between the historical drama and that of the 
fairy world of the Maerchen stands Waifs of the Strand 
(1910), a tale of the moorlands and dunes of the Baltic 
coast at the time of the Teutonic Knights. It is a drama 
of elemental passion and humble purity. The first of the 
symbolic dramas was the trivial and bizarre fantasy in 
verse The Eternally-Masculine (1896), the third of the one- 
act plays in the collection Morituri. Sudermann's only 
real contribution to the symbolism that followed in the 
wake of the realistic movement in German literature is 
The Three Heron-Plumes (1898), a dramatic poem. It is 
the only one of the plays that reads better than it acts. 
The hero, Prince Witte, a strange mixture of Faust, Hamlet, 
and Don Juan, fritters away his life in the vain search for 
the blue flower of his love, which all the while had been 
blossoming beside him. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 16^ 

In rapid review the many children of Sudermann's facile 
pen have passed before us, and now that we have caughi 
through them at least a glimpse of the poet's soul we maj 
return to the question — what is Sudermann's outlook or 
life? Is it the smile or the sneer? Had we attempted ai 
answer after discussing the novels, we should have heer 
forced to admit that the smile had become a sneer, that the 
lurid pleasures of a modern Babylon had completely blottec 
out all the pure joy of the romanticist; but now that we 
have also considered the dramas the picture changes and 
the smile remains. ' ' The sum of good is greater than the 
sum of evil." 

Sudermann's poetic output has been prodigious. The 
nervous rapidity with which one work has followed anothei 
is marvelous, but it is just this element of his nature whiel 
his friends most deprecate. It seems as if at any oos1 
he would keep in the public eye. Much of his work is 
ephemeral, perhaps the greater part of it, but there is some 
small portion that bears the hall-mark of genuine poetrj 
and will live. He has furnished the repertoire of the Ger 
man stage with a goodly number of most effective plays 
and has enriched the German novel and the German drams 
with at least one new and striking type — achievements 
which in themselves suffice to write his name in letters oi 
gold on the annals of German literature. 

And finally, let us not forget that he is stUl with us, 
but fifty-seven years of age, in the full prime of mature 
manhood. 



HERMANN SUDERMANN 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 

DRAMATIS PERSONS 

Hebod Anhpas, Tetrarch of Galilee 

Hebodias 

(Salome, her daughter 

ViTEiiiXJS, Legate of Syria 

Habcellus, Ms companion 

Mebokies, the rhetorician 1 

CrABALOS, the Syrian i At the Court of Herod Antipas 

Jabao, the Levite \ 

Joss, called " The Baptist ' 

JOBAFHAT 



Matthias I 



Amabiah \ ^^ disciples 
Manassa J 
Jael, Josaphat's wife 
Their two children 
Hadidja, Maid in the Palace 

MlBIAM 1 

Abi Playfellows of Salome 

Maecha J 

Mestjlemeth, a beggar-womam 

JoR^ } ^^«^ees 

Eliakim "] 

Pastib >Citis:ens of Jerusalem 

Hachmoni J 

Simon, the Galileam, 

FntST Galilean 

Second Galilean 

A Paealytic 

EmsT Pbiest 

Second Pbiest 

A Citizen op Jebusalem 

The Commandeb op the Roman Soldiebs 

First "i 

Second I- Roman Soldieb 

Thied J 

The Captain op the Palace Guard 

The Gaoleb 



Men and Women from Jerusalem, Pilgrims, Roman Legionaries, Men and 
Maidservants in the Palace 

Time of Action: The Year 29 after Christ 

Scene of Action: During the Prelude a rocky loilderness near Jerusalem 
In the First, Second, and Third Acts: Jerusalem 
In the Fourth and Fifth Acts: A town of Galilee 

[168] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST* (1898) 

A Tragedy in Five Acts and a Peologub 

TRANSLATED BY BEATRICE MARSHALL 

Prelude 

A wUd, rocky scene in the neighborhood of Jerusalem. . . . Night — 
The moon shining dimh/ through jagged clouds. . . . In the distance 
appears on the horizon the reflection of the great flaming altar of burnt 
offering. 

Hadidja and Miriam advancing. Dark shadows flit in groups across the 
background from right to left. 

Miriam. Hadidja, I am afraid! 

Hadidja. Come ! 

MiBUM. I am afraid. Seest thou not those gliding shadows 
there? Their feet scarce touch the rock, and theii 
bodies are like the breath of the night-wind. 

Hadidja. Fool that thou art ! Thou art afraid of thy com- 
panions in misery and suffering. The same need as 
thine brings them hither ; the same hope leads them or 
to the heights of the sanctuary. 

MiRiiM. Do they also wish to go to him? 

Hadidja. Every one wishes to go to him. Is there a ligh1 
in Israel which doth not radiate from his head? Is 
there water for the thirsty which doth not flow fron 
his hand? Streams of sweet water gush forth fron 
the dead rock, and his voice is born out of silence. 

Miriam. But I am afraid of him. Why dwelleth he amonj 
the terrors of the desert? Why flieth he from th( 
paths of the joyous, and shunneth the suffering? 

Hadidja. The joyous need him not. The suffering wil 
find their way to him. 

Miriam. Look, Hadidja ! There is the glow of fire yondei 
above Jerusalem. The Romans are burning oui 
houses, and yet we tarry here! 

* Permission John Lane Company, New York. 

[169] 



170 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hadidja. What! Dost thou not know that is the great 

altar on which, day and night, the priests offer up a 

tenth part of the sweat of our brows? 
MmiAM (in horrified amazement). And would he have the 

great altar fall too ? 
Hadtoja. I know not. But what he willeth is best. See — 

who comes? 

Enter two men, half carrying, half dragging a paralytic who moans. Later, 

Manassa. 

FntST Man. Women, say, have ye met the great Eabbi 

whom men call the Baptist ? 
Hadidja. We also seek the Baptist. 
The Pakalytic (moaning). Put me down; let me die! 
First Man. We have carried this palsied man here in our 

arms, and they are weary, and he whom we hoped to 

find is not here. 
The Pakalytic {with a groan). Let me die! 
Manassa's Voice (crying aloud from the right). John! 

John! 
Manassa (rushing on the scene). John, where art thou, 

John? I cry unto thee in my distress. Have mercy; 

let me behold thee, John ! 
MmiAM (pointing to the left). Look! A crowd of people 

are drawing near. One man goes before them. 
Hadidja. Bow down ; for it is he. 

Enter John, behind him a number of men and women, among them 

Amariah. 

John. Whose wretchedness is so great that he wails over- 
loud, and forgets that grief should be silent? 

Manassa (kneeling before him). Eabbi, mighty Rabbi! If 
thou art he of whom men are talking in the streets of 
Jerusalem, help me, save me, help me ! 

John. Stand up and speak. 

Manassa. I am Manassa, the son of Jeruel, and my father 
was sick and blind; and I lived with him on the road 
to Gibeon, close by the well which is never dry. And 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 173 

men came unto me who said, " It is the wiU of the Lord 
our God that ye refuse to pay tribute to the Eomans,'' 
and I refused to pay the Romans tribute. Then fell 
the soldiers on me and burned my house, and my young 
wife perished in the flames, and my child and my father 
who was bliad. And I am now left alone and desolate, 
Help me. Rabbi ! Help ! 

John. Am I lord over Life and Death that I can make thy 
father, wife, and child alive again? Can I build up 
thy house once more out of its ashes? What dost thou 
ask of me? 

Manassa. Then cursed be those who — 

John. Stop! Cursings enough hang over us. Israel is 
loaded with them, as the autumn boughs with ripe 
grapes. Wherefore dost thou lament? Look before, 
instead of behind. If thou canst not withhold thy 
lamentations, put a gag between thy teeth; for there 
should be only silent prayer, and breathless longing 
and patience. 

Manassa. How shall that help me. Rabbi, ia my loneliness 
and desolation? 

John. Thou speakest sinfully. Is He not with thee? 

Manassa. Rabbi! Who? 

Amakiah. Hearken ! He hath not yet heard the news oi 
Him who cometh ! 

John. Knowest thou not that soon there wiU be rejoicing 
in Israel? Bridal garments and music of cymbals! 
Knowest thou not that there will be no more sorrow 
in Israel? Therefore wipe the foam from thy lips and 
sanctify thyself. 

All, Sanctify thyself! 

Manassa. No more sorrow? No more suffering? Rabbi 
teU me — may I stay with thee? 

John. Join thyself to these and learn silence. 

Manassa {stammering). Rabbi! [He steps hack.l 

John. I see not Josaphat among you. Neither is Matthias 
here. Who hath tidings of them? 



172 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Amaeiah. Rabbi, none hath seen them. 

John, Who is that creeping on the ground groaning? 

The Paralytic. Master, I am a poor man, sick of a palsy 
and in great agony. If thou canst not cure me, I would 
die! 

John. Die now? Now, when One is at hand who bringeth 
relief for thy tumors and balm for thy sores? I say 
unto thee thou wilt thank the Lord thy God with shouts 
of joy for every hour of thy pain, for every inch of the 
road thou hast crawled along on inflamed knees, when 
thou shalt have beheld Him for whom our soul longeth 
and hopeth, for whose coming we wait and watch ia 
patience by the roadside, looking toward the East. 
Therefore endure sevenfold suffering and groan no 
more. 

The Paealytic. Rabbi, thou hast done wonders for me. 
I feel no pain any more — I — 

[He makes an effort to rise, but sinks back. His 
companions lead him to the background of the 
scene. He breathes more easily, and smiles as he 
is being carried away.] 

MuRMUK OF People. See ! a miracle. He works miracles ! 

One op the People. Truly the time has been fulfilled^ 
Elijah is risen. The Great Prophet is risen from the 
dead! 

Another. No, not Elijah, not one of the Prophets! See 
ye not, ye blind? It is He Himself! He is the prom- 
ised One. Worship Him! worship Htm! 

[All fall on their knees.] 

John. A man sick of a fever crawled out upon the road 
looking for the physician . . . And when a beggar or a 
slave came by, carrying water, he fell on his knees 
before him and cried, ' ' Hail to thee, great physician ! 
Thank God, thou art come ! ' ' And so he went on till 
evening, and the children mocked him. [The people 
rise slowly.] What have I, the beggar, to give you? 
The water I carry is to baptize you in ; it is poor water 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 17c 

of repentance. But He who cometh after me will 
baptize you with fire and the Spirit, and I am not 
worthy to unloose His shoes, ... so little am I in 
comparison with Him. 

Several. Rabbi, tell us, when will He come of whom thou 
speakest? 

Otheks. Who is it. Rabbi? Be merciful and strengthen 
our souls. Speak to us of Him. 

John. Then sit ye down in a circle and hear the oft-pro- 
claimed tidings, ye insatiable ones. 

[The people crouch on the ground.'] 

MiKiAM. Hadidja, what is he going to tell us? 

Hadidja, Be silent. 

MiEiAM. Let me grasp thy hand, Hadidja. 

John. It was on the banks of the Jordan. I baptized 
there, according to the command of the Lord. Many 
people were gathered round me and hearkened to what 
I preached, but my soul was consumed with doubt and 
misgiving. Then, lo, a youth came down from the 
cliffs above, and he was alone, and all the people drew 
back. And as I raised my eyes to his face, I knew 
that this was He, for the glory of the Eternal shone 
round about Him. And when He spake with me, and 
prayed me to baptize Him as if He were one among 
the sinners Himself, I trembled and refused, saying, 
* ' I would be baptized by Thee, and comest Thou to 
me ? " And He made answer, " So be it, for thus shall 
the law be fulfilled. ' ' Then I yielded, and let it be as 
He desired. And when He had received baptism from 
my trembling hand. He rose from the water, and be- 
hold, suddenly the Heavens opened above Him and I 
saw the Holy Ghost descending like a white dove, and 
He was bathed in the Heavenly light. And a voice 
out of Heaven spake, ' ' Behold, this is My Beloved Son, 
in whom I am well pleased. ' ' Then I fell on my face 
and adored. And I was no longer afraid. 



174 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Onr of the Cbowd {after a pause). And whither did He 
go, He who was thus illumined hy the radiance of the 
Lord? 

All. Yes, whither did He go? Didst thou not hold Him? 

John. Plague me not with questions. He cometh and 
goeth, and no man holdeth Him. At this very hour 
He may be sitting in our midst. 

\_All turn on each other, an awestruck and inquiring 
gaze.] 

Amaelih. Rabbi, we are all poor workpeople from Jerusa- 
lem, and every one knoweth his fellow. 

One of the Crowd {pointing to Mirlam). Yes, we men! 
But here is a woman whom I never saw before. 

HAomjA. Her name is Miriam, and she serves as maid in 
the Palace, as I do. 

John. Leave her in peace. 

Another. But if He of whom thou speakest dwells among 
the living. He must bear a name, and His father's 
name. 

All. Yea; tell us His name. His name! 

John. Ye would hear His name? Listen to the wind 
whispering among the rocks, mark well what it saith 
ere it vanisheth. So His name, heard first here and 
then there, passed by my ear. I am waiting with 
prayer and anxiety to hear it again. Therefore I say 
unto you. Question me not further, lest it melt away 
like a dream when the cock croweth. 

Amariah. Yet give us withal some guidance. "Whence 
came He to thee — He, the — 

John. The wind which wafted Him to me blew from 
Galilee. 

All. From Galilee! 

One. Does the Messiah belong to the Galileans, the fish- 
eaters ? 

Another. He shall come to us Judeans ! Up, and let us 
seek Him! 

All. Aye, let us seek Him ! 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 175 

OHN. Think ye that He will permit Himself to be found 
by you? Ye miserable creatures full of mutiny and 
revolt? Who are ye that ye should alter the course 
of the world's history by a hair's breadth? When the 
time for His harvest is ripe, then He shall appear to 
you of His own free will in glory as the Lord of Hosts. 
The four cherubim shall ride before Him on capari- 
soned horses, with flaming sickles in their hands, to 
mow down and to trample upon . . . Whatsoever hath 
been planted in sin and hath grown up rankly, that 
shall be mown down, root and branch ; whatsoever hath 
reared itself against Him shall be trampled upon. 
Therefore, ye men of Israel, root up the weeds that 
flourish and encumber your bodies, that ye may not rot, 
and in your corruption be swept away with your pol- 
luters when He draweth near with the sevenfold rain- 
bow about His head. He who shall come must come 
(reflectively), must come! 

)ne of the Cbowd. Rabbi, we have repented of our sins. 
We pray day and night, and our bodies are emaciated 
from fasting. Say, what more can we do? 

Enter Josaphat and Matthias. 

ToHN. Josaphat, so thou art here. And thou, Matthias. 

FosAPHAT. Master, chide us not for having lingered. We 
paused by Herod's Palace, which, as a rule, is dark 
and deserted. We saw rosy lights kindled, and the 
pillars garlanded with flowers. Fresh ignominy shall 
befall Israel, more deadly sin weigh upon her, if thou. 
Rabbi, comest not to the rescue. 

ToHN. Speak out ! 

TosAPHAT. Herod hath not come out of Galilee, as every 
year before, for the Passover. He is not expected till 
tomorrow. Another guest hath arrived. The wife of 
Philip, Herod's brother, hath deserted him, and taken 
with her Salome, Philip's daughter. 

The guest at the palace is called Herodias, and to- 
morrow the marriage feast is to be celebrated. 



176 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John. Between Herod and his own brother's wife? 

JosAPHAT. Thou hast said it, Babbi. 

John. No! No! Whoever hath told thee this informed 
thee falsely. His lips were shameless, and his soul lied. 

Amaeiah. Pardon, Eabbi ; there are maids here belonging 
to the palace. . . . Question them. 

John. Hadidja, I know thee. Speak! 

Hadidja. Rabbi, my place is too humble. I only hear what 
the idle gossips say. But here is Miriam. She has 
been chosen as the playmate of the young maiden 
Salome since she came yesterday. She waits on her 
at the bath. Question her ! 

John. Miriam, why art thou silent? 

Hadidja. Rabbi, she hath never yet conversed with 
strangers. 

MiKiAM {in a low, stammering tone). Master, it is true 
what that man saith. And — [Emotion.] 

John. Continue ! 

Miriam. And after the wedding, on the first day of the 
Passover, Herodias is to enter the Temple, as far as 
the women's outer court, her new consort leading her 
by the hand. They will show themselves to the people. 

John. That the people may stone them? But what am 
I saying? They dare not! Those priests, lustful as 
they are, cowards cringing in the dust at the feet of the 
Romans, dare not permit this! The iron gates will 
close upon the scandal, and the High Priest will stretch 
forth his arm to curse them! 

Hadidja. Speak, Miriam! 

John. What else hast thou to say, Miriam? 

Miriam. Master, at this very hour, messengers are pass- 
ing to and fro between Herodias and the Temple. The 
Princess desireth that the High Priest shall meet them 
at the second gate, where the men and women separate, 
to bless her — 

John. Enough! Go home, all of you. I would be alone. 
Tomorrow ye will see me at Jerusalem. 

[Horror amongst the people.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 177 

One of the Crowd. Eabbi, wilt thou trust thyself to thine 
enemies ? 

Others. Reflect, Rabbi! The Pharisees will trap thee, 
The priests will condemn thee. 

John. I am the son of a priest. I will speak priestly 
words to those who countenance this infamous crime 
I will speak to them in the name of Him who cometh; 
for whom I prepare the way. Go ! [As they appeal 
unwilling and hesitate.] Go! [The curtain falls.'] 



ACT I 

Square in front of the Palace of Herod. The guard-room of the Romai 
soldiers is to the right of the Palace in the foreground, with benches be 
fore the door. To the right of centre is the chief entrance. Steps w 
background, which lead to the top of a hill. Behind, separated by at 
invisible valley, is a view of rising masses of house-tops belonging tc 
another part of the town. A narrow street to the left of centre, anc 
another street in foreground, which may be taken as a continuation o] 
the one that runs to right of guard-room. In it is the shop of the woolet 
merchant Eliakim. At its right corner the shop of the, fruit-sellei 
Pasitr, with wares exhibited. A fountain with seats round it, near th( 
middle of the stage. 

Eliakim and Pasue. First, second, third common soldiers. 

Pasue {as he comes forward glances anxiously at the 
soldiers, who sit in front of guard-room). Neighbor 
neighbor, dost thou not hear me ? 

Eliakim {sitting outside his shop reading a parchment) 
It is written that whosoever disturbeth a man when 
he is reading the law shall forfeit his Ufe. 

Pasuk. Thou readest the law? 

Eliakim. Knowest thou not that I read the law day anc 
night? 

Pasue. Forgive me, neighbor; accuse me not. I sinnec 
out of ignorance. ... I was in fear of the soldiers 
who are quartered yonder . . . but I am going in. 

[Slinhs hack to his shop.] 

Vol. XVII — 12 



178 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

First Soldier (to the second who sharpens his swo 
Marcus, wherefore handiest thou thy blade with s 
terrific zeal? There is naught to hew down in th 
These damned Judeans have had enough. They '11 r 
no more. 

Second Soldier. Who can tell? Since that woman entt 
there yesterday, my nostrils have scented bloods] 
Everything is upside down in Herod's house, and w 
it is a question of their so-called princes, they 
ticklish subjects. 

First Soldier. Here in Judea they have none ; so we 
masters. 

Second Soldier. We are masters everywhere, with 
without a Herod. 

First Soldier. What brings the Tetrarch of Galilee 
Jerusalem? 

Second Soldier. Yes, well mayest thou ask I Yet 
Cometh twice or thrice in the year to rub his nose 
the fleeces of the Temple, and then away he goes ag 
God requires it of him, so they say. A crazy peo; 

FmsT Soldier. And we must stand by as guard of ho: 
A nice business for a Roman citizen ! 

[Hadidja and two other maids, with jugs on t, 
heads, come out of the Palace and go to the * 
where they draw water.'] 

Second Soldier. Idiot! We are bound to do it, so 1 
we may appear to honor him. In reality we guard 1 
He will soon be here now. 

Third Soldier {who has been squatting on a brick, u 
out taking any part in conversation, sings). Sm 
smiling Lalage, thee will I love for ever. Thee, sAi 
smiling Lalage — 

Second Soldier {irritably). Have done howling after 
Lalage! Before thou goest back to Rome again, 
will be a grandmother. 

Third Soldier {stretching out his arms). Alack, yes! 

Second Soldier {pointing to the maids). Are not tl 
women enough here? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST Hi 

Third Soldier. Ah! but they are Jew girls. They meac 
well enough, but the punishment of death hangs ovei 
them. 

Second Soldieb. A crazy people. 

Thied Soldier. If only there were no foreigners! I, foi 
my part, take not kindly to these Asiatics. They wasl 
all day long, and yet stink in spite of it. ... Ha 
yesterday a Syrian sweetheart made me a present oi 
a necklace. There it is. Shall we dice for it? 

Second Soldier. Show it to me. I lay fifty denarii. 

Third Soldier. Eogue! A hundred and fifty! 

Second Soldier, Very well. 

First Soldier. I will join. 

Third Soldier. Come along. 

[All three disappear into the guard-room,] 

Ente Eliakim, Pasub, Hadidja and the two other maide. Two Priesti 
descend the central steps. 

First Priest. Damsels, you belong to the Palace? 

Hadidja. Yes, priests. 

First Priest, Announce us to your mistress. 

Hadidja. Our mistress, priests, is gone forth to meet the 

Tetrarch Herod, to receive him at the gates. 
FntsT Priest. When will she return? 
Hadidja. That we cannot say, priests; it depends on th< 

coming of the Prince. 
FmsT Priest. Do you desire our blessing? 
Hadidja, No ! 

[She vanishes with the other maids into the interiot 

of the Palace. Both Priests look , discomposed.] 

First Priest {observing Eliakim and Pasur sitting in froni 

of their doors, raises his hands unctuously). Blessed 

be ye who — 
Ella.kim, No one asked thy blessing! 

[Both Priests regard each other in dismay.'] 
Second Priest (furiously). These again are of the schoo] 

of the Pharisees ! 



180 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

FiBST Priest. We hold the Temple. They shall yet be our 
servants. Come! [Exeunt both Priests.] 

Pasur {drawing near humbly). Forgive me, neighbor, but 
now thou no longer readest in the law? 

Eliakim. No. 

Pasur. This will be a sorry Passover for us tradesmen. 
See all this fine stock which I have laid in. There is 
the sacred pomegranate wood, whereon to roast the 
lamb. Here are the sweet herbs, with which to pre- 
pare the holy broth, and here are the bitter roots, the 
garlic, cresses, and bay leaves, all according to the 
precept. In six, or at latest seven hours the feast 
begins, and I shall be left stranded with my whole 
stock on hand. Oh, woe is me ! Woe is me ! 

Eliakim. Well, have I not also superior and holy wares 
for sale? There are stuffs of the very finest quality. 
Beautiful tassels of white and hyacinth-blue wool. 
And are not my Tephilim the most beautiful ever worn 
by a son of Abraham at morning prayer? Nay, Abra- 
ham himself never wore a finer. I believe I have 
eighteen dozen or more. Yet one should take no 
thought of bodily raiment, but read the Scriptures. So 
it is written. 

Pasur. But, neighbor, the man who deals in vegetables 
does not find it so easy to be righteous in the sight of 
the Lord. Thy woolen goods will keep till Herod is 
gone again with his new wife. 

Eliakim {shakes his fist at the Palace). It's a shame, a 
crying shame! 

Pasur. Yes; once this was always a good spot for busi- 
ness, but now grass groweth in front of the Palace. 

Eliakim. Only priests go in and out. 

Enter a citizen of Jerusalem who comes to fill his pitcher at the fountain. 

Citizen {distressfully). Neighbor, dear neighbor! 
Eliakim. What is thy trouble? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 181 

Citizen. Thou art a righteous man and knowest the law. 
Give me advice, and thou shalt have my thanks. My 
poor wife has hurt her foot while working in the fields. 
It is burning and swollen, and I bathe it with cold 
water from the fountain, which does it good. But in a 
short time beginneth the feast. May I continue with 
the bathing then? 
Eliakim. Sabbath breaking? Thou wilt be guilty, and 

deserve death. 
Citizen. Oh, Lord eternal! 

Eliakim. Yes. If it were her throat that ailed, then thou 
mightest pour the remedy into her mouth. But her 
foot! No! 
Citizen. But suppose that it mortifies! 
Eliakim. Yea, if it mortifies and is a danger to life, th€ 

law alloweth it. 
Citizen {crying out in despair). But then it is too late ! 

[Meanwhile a man wrapt in a cloak has come dowvi 

the street, and looks up calmly at the wimdows o] 

Herod's Palace.] 

Eliakim {points to him, looking shocked). Hush, if thoi; 

lovest thy life! The man thou seest yonder is om 

David, belonging to the Zealots who dwell in the desert 

They come down to the towns with daggers hidden ii 

the folds of their cloaks. And when they find peoph 

committing a breach of the law by word or deed, thej 

strike at them from behind. [Rising, as the strangei 

approaches.'] Greeting, thou holy man ! Behold I kno-w 

thee well. Wilt thou not bless thy servant? 

[The stranger passes, and disappears in the stree. 
to the left.] 
Pastjr. I feel a shiver run through me. One can err an( 

not know it. 
Citizen. How many hours are there yet, ere the feas 

begins ? 
Eliakim {regarding the sun). Six. 



182 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Citizen. So long, then, I may use the cooling remedy, but 
I know not what to do afterward. [Drags his pitcher 
away dejectedly.'] 

Pasub. Of a truth, we Hebrews are hunted like vermin. 
If the Bomans leave us alone, the law strikes at us. 

The stage has become half-filled with people, who gesticulate in excitement, 
looking up at Herod's Palace. Among them Hachmoni; later, the 
soldiers. 

Eliakim. What is going on there? Hachmoni, thou shalt 
speak. What ails the people? 

Hachmoni. Hast thou not heard? John is in the town ! 

Eliakim. There are many Johns. 

Hachmoni. The Baptist, man ! 

Eliakim. The Baptist; enemy of the Priests and of the 
Pharisees ; to whom every Eechabite hath sworn death. 
Is he caught at last? 

Hachmoni. Thou speakest like one in his sleep ! If there 
is a man in Jerusalem safe and untouched by the curse 
of the Romans, it is he. He standeth in the market- 
place and preacheth; he standeth at the gates and 
preacheth. — Did I say preach? Firebrands issue from 
his lips ; scorpions leap out of his mouth. 

Eliakim. Against whom doth he preach, then? 

Hachmoni. Against Herod, naturally. And his para- 
mour, and his paramour's whelp. 

All. Down with Herod! Death to Herod! 

[The first and second Roman soldiers step out of the 
guard-room.] 

First Soldiee. What are the blear-eyed scum crying? 

Second Soldier. Death to Herod ! Did not I say it would 
be so? I can trust my nose. [Draws his sword.] 

Pasub. Protect yourselves! The soldiers! 

[The people fall back.] 

First Soldier (laughing). The dogs are affrighted al- 
ready. Curs! [They go in, laughing.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 182 

Ahasai and Jorab enter from left centre, remain in the street. 

Amasai. Look at them! Must this not appear a mad 
mockery in the sight of the Lord? Who that follows 
the straight path laid down by the law, after the man- 
ner of God-fearing men, can have anything in com- 
mon with these sinners? 

JoKAB. They are infatuated with the Baptist's preaching, 
and yet too weak to kick against the pricks. Speai 
to them, so that they come to themselves. 

Amasai. After the Baptist? Eather would I grasp a mad 
bull by the horns. They would go up to the Temple 
to make an offering of sow's blood, if he bade them 
do it. 

JoRAB. Cannot we trap him? 

Amasai. And so stand before the people as the friends of 
Herod? Leave that kind of fame to the Priests and 
the Sadducees. The disaffection which we quelled, a1 
a signal from him, screams aloud in the gutter. So 
what good have we done? That is why the people 
flock to him. We have missed our opportunity. Bui 
still, I know a way to entangle him. I will strike a1 
him through his foUy about the Messiah. [Shouts oj 
applause arise from the people.] Listen! so they once 
hailed us. 

[They withdraw further into the street to the left.] 

Without Amasai and Jobab. Enter John, accompanied by Josaphat 
Matthias, and Manassa and a fresh crowd. People appear behinc 
left. 

[John throws himself down on the edge of the 
fountain.] 
Josaphat. See, Rabbi, what power hath been given thee 
They wag their tails like pleased hounds. Jerusalen 
the Blessed lies at thy feet. 
John. Give me to drink! 

[Manassa draws him water.] 



184 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Hachmoni. Behold! The great prophet drinks as if he 

were one of us — 
Pasub. That is goat's hair wherewith he is clothed. It 

must prick his skin. It shows what a holy man he is. 
EuAKiM. But he doth not favor the woolen trade. If all 

were so holy, we should be beggared. 
Hachmoni. And his food, people say, is nought but locusts 

and wild honey. 
Matthias. Get back. See ye not that ye plague him? 

[They retire.] 
Josaphat. Rabbi, forgive. The people wait. What is 

thy command to them? 
John. Is this Herod's house? 
Josaphat. Yes, Rabbi. ISilence.'] Rabbi, say, what shall 

they do? 
John. Am I the keeper of these people? The shepherd 

may drive his flock through thorns or flowers. I pine 

for the wilderness, for my rocky fastnesses. 
Josaphat (dismayed). Rabbi! 
John. I have awakened the slumbering conscience, scourged 

and roused the idle, shown the erring the right road. 

One great burst of indignation against Herod now 

flames toward heaven. So now they may let me go my 

way, or send their spies after me. But no priest has 

yet dared to stand in my path. It is well. My work 

in Jerusalem is at an end. 
Matthias. Not so, Rabbi. Thy work only beginneth. We 

have to face the Prince's entry. The people want a 

leader. 
John. Whither will they be led? 
Matthias. That we know not. Rabbi. 
John. And do I know? Am I one to subject my will to 

the fetters of a plan, or to spin a web for others? I 

am the voice of one crying in the wUdemess. That 

is my destiny. Come ! [He stands up.] 

People. Hail to thee, John! Hail! 

[As he is going, Amasai and Joeab step in his way.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 18f 

AmaSAI wnd JORAB. 

Amasai. Pardon us, great prophet, that we have not yel 
been present at thy baptisms. 

JoHisr. Who are ye? 

JosAPHAT (whispering). Be on your guard. Rabbi. Thej 
wear the wide hem of the Pharisees. Their brethrer 
are high in the Council. 

Amasai. We are diligent scribes, simple men, to whom the 
study of the law hath brought more honor than we 
deserve. 

John. May be. But what do ye want with me ? 

Amasai. Many reports of miracles worked by thee have 
come to our ears. Some say thou art Elijah; and 
others, even greater than he. We are willing to be- 
lieve this, even if thou performest not his miracles. 
Naturally thou mayest have reasons in thy heart for 
keeping thy power of miracle-working a secret from us. 

Pasuk. Hath he worked miracles? 

Eliakim. Not for me. 

Pasue. Ah ! 

Amasai. We have heard, too, much of thy godliness ; that 
thou fastest and prayest as one to whom meat and 
drink and earthly intercourse are of no account. We 
fast and pray also, and our desire for doing good can- 
not be satisfied. But the law is harder and more 
zealous than we. Therefore we beg thee to be so 
gracious as to bestow on us the benefit of thy teaching. 
Rabbi, and to tell us how we can keep the law. 

John. So ? Ye lay traps for me under the cloak of your 
glib words. Ye generation of vipers ! Who hath told 
you that ye shall escape the wrath to come? Woe 
unto you, when He cometh who is stronger than I! 
He hath His sickle already in His hand. He will 
gather the grain into His barn, but the chaff He will 
burn with everlasting fire. 

Pasue. Of whom doth he speak? 

Hachmoni. Hush! he speaks of the Messiah. 



186 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

EiJAKiM. What Messiah? 

JoKAB. Come, Ainasai. I am afraid of this man. 

Amasai {shielding himself with his hand). We approached 
thee as petitioners, and thou hast abused us. We will 
let that pass, presuming that thou hast a right thereto. 
The one of whom thou speakest as coming after thee 
has given thee the right. Is it not so? [Silence.] 
Behold, ye people of Israel, your prophet is silent. If it 
be not the Messiah, the Messiah of whom he preaches 
in the wilderness, and even in the market-place, who 
hath given him the right to chide us? Where else 
hath he obtained his authority? Ye know what we 
are. God-fearing, upright men, that strive to obey the 
law in everything. 

One of the People. Who is this? 

Eliakim. Amasai, the wise and learned scribe. 

People (murmuring). Listen, it is Amasai. 

Another. Rabbi, wilt thou not bless us? 

Amasai. Yea, in short, we are a piece of the law ourselves. 
And we have never done this man any harm. If he 
is an enemy to us, it must be because he is an enemy 
to the law. 

John. Thou liest. 

Amasai. Good. If I lie, so teach me, great prophet, how 
thou keepest the law. 

JosAPHAT {in a low voice). Yes, Rabbi, explain! The 
people expect it. 

John. I have nothing to do with the law, of which ye 
and your like set up to be guardians and students. 

[Sensation among the people.] 

JosAPHAT {in a low voice). Rabbi, think what thou art say- 
ing. Injure not thyself. 

John. Nay, it is not your law, but yourselves that I hate. 
For your hand lieth heavily on this people, and your 
well-being is its affliction. 

Amasai. That thou hast yet to prove, great prophet. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 187 

John. Who are ye, ye men of worldly wisdom, that yt 
should look on the law as your special inheritance and 
possession? Here is an enslaved people crawling 
patiently on its belly beneath a scourge, oppressed by 
a heavy burden, and ye desire to tell it how it shall 
crawl. 

Amasai. Yea, because it must crawl somehow, greal 
prophet. 

John. Ye think so. I say that it shall rise out of the dust, 

Amasai. Thus have rebels ever spoken, and the end hath 
always been the cross and the gallows. Thou, whom 
men call the great prophet, listen to me! When the 
Lord redeemed His people the first time, how did He 
do it? Through the law. And when He redeemed 
them a second time, knowest thou how He did it? 
Through the law. So if we guard and watch this law, 
and let it expand by itself, swelling like an ear of com, 
a thousand times into a thousandfold blessings, what 
is our object? Redemption, the hope which lives in 
all of us. Only we do not noise it abroad in the gutter 
and on the housetops. 

Peoplk {murmuring). There he is right. Aye, he is right 1 

A troop of pilgrims have come up by degrees and slake their thirst at the 
fountain. Among them Simon the Galilean. 

Amasai. See ! Look around thee. Behold these pilgrims ! 
They come with their knapsacks from far distant 
lands : from Egypt, from the Euphrates, and Syria, and 
from the accursed city of Rome itself. They are in- 
different to hunger and thirst, the heat of the sun, and 
the dust of the road. And wherefore have they come? 
Because of this very law, which I and my brethren 
guard and study. And if thou sayest thou hast nothing 
to do with this law, and hatest it, tell us, then, what 
law thou lovest ? Where do the Commandments leave 
off which the Lord made for His people, and where 



188 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

begin the vain works of men? Enlighten us, great 
prophet, and upbraid us not. 

[John is silent, and uncertain what to say.] 

JosAPHAT. I warned thee, Eabbi ! 

Amasai {with a laugh of scorn). Now see, all of you. See! 
Methinks the great — [Breaks off as a woman, sickly 
and heavily loaded, comes accidentally near to him. 
He turns round in anger.] Touch me not, lest I be- 
come unclean! I am a Rechabite! 

Simon (to the woman). No; touch him not, lest thou 
become unclean. 

Amasai. What? 

Simon. For the Pharisees who call themselves Eechabites 
are unclean from within. Come! 

[Leads her to the fountain.] 

Amasai. He denies God! 

People (murmuring). He denies God! 

Amasai. A Eechabite unclean? A man who doth nothing 
day and night but fulfill the law ; who perf ormeth his 
sacred ablutions three times more than necessary; who 
sitteth, on the Sabbath, like a monument ; who speaketh 
a blessing at meat twice, and over salt, bread — er — 
er — [half choking.] A Eechabite unclean? 

John. If I could not answer thy questions with their 
double meaning, thou thyself hast now answered them! 

Amasai. And may seven swine possess thee, thou great 
prophet, so that compared with them thou appearest 
to me a saint. {To the Galilean.) And what evil 
spirit hath taken possession of thee, man? Art thou 
a Jew? Where dost thou come from? What is thy 
name? 

Matthias {in a low voice). Tell him not thy name. He 
will ruin thee. 

Simon {calmly). I am a Jew. My name is Simon, and I 
come from Galilee. 

Amasai. And as one that there knoweth Law and Sacri- 
fice — 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 18£ 

Simon (interrupting). Greater than law, greater than 
sacrifice, is love! 

[Sensation and dismay among the people.] 

Amasai. See ye not now that he is guilty against the lawl 
[He continues speaking earnestly to the people.] 

John {approaching the Galilean in great excitement). 
Who taught thee that? [As Simon is silent, more 
urgently.] Who taught thee that? 

Matthias {in a quick, low tone to the Galilean). Before 
they capture thee, fly! 

[Simon shakes his head.] 

John. This knowledge, that comes straight from thy sim- 
ple and timid heart, awes me, for it cannot be thine 
own. [The people, hounded on by Amasai, jostle the 
Galilean.] Back! In the name of Him who cometh, 
keep back. Leave him alone ! [The people retreat.] 

Pastje. Thou playest with us and our great longing as ii 
we were toys. 

Amasai. Ah, now I have caught thee ! Thou who poisonesi 
a thirsty people with foul water! Where is He who 
shall come? Where is thy Messiah? Where is the 
King of the Jews ? Aye, show Him to us ! 

The People {fiercely). Yea, woe to thee if thou canst nol 
show Him to us ! 

John {firmly). Here cometh the King of the Jews whom 
ye acclaim! 

Herod, Hbeodias, Salome and their train appear above in the background 
The company of soldiers, with their officers, have posted themselves a\ 
the Palace gates. In silence the procession descends. 

One OF THE Train. Hail to Herod! iStill silence.] Now, 

ye dogs ! Cry, Hail ! 
Herod. At what are the people gaping? {To the Com 
mander of the Guard.) Ye, who in obedience tc 
Rome's command are here to protect me, cannot ye 
clear them out of my way? 

\_At a sign from their Captain the soldiers begin tc 
charge the people with lowered spears.] 



190 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Amasai {who is standing in the foremost row, turns with 
a shrill cry). Woe! woe! 

[Takes flight. Jobab follows him. The people re- 
treat with a subdued exclamation of fear. John 
alone stands his ground, his head held high, and 
measures Herod with his glance.^ 
Salome {raising her veil). Mother, look at that man. It 
is the same who stood in the market-place and at the 
gates and everywhere where we have passed. 
Herod. And everywhere caused dissension. 
Salome. Look! His eyes flash fire! Mother, look! 
Hekod. Come along, ye women. And if the pious citizens 
of Jerusalem have unlearnt the way to welcome with 
rejoicing the representative of the great race of Herod 
{with a glance at the Captain of the Guard), Rome, I 
hope, will teach it to them again. 
[The Captain shrugs his shoulders with a slight smile.] 
Herod. Come, I pray. 

[Hbeod, Herodias, Salome, go with their train into 
the Palace; the common soldiers into the guard- 
room.'] 

Enter Johannes, Josaphat, Matthias, Manassa, Hachmoni, Pasde, 

the people. 

Hachmoni {at the head of a group, pressing forward). 

Pardon us, great prophet. The Pharisees have fled 

like cowards. But, see, we cling to thee. So now 

help us. 
The People. Help us! 
John {as if in a dream). Tell me, whither hath the man 

from Galilee gone? 
Manassa. Rabbi, we know not. 
John. Then seek him. Bring him to me. 
Manassa. Yes, Rabbi. 
All the People. Tarry with us, great prophet. Help us ! 

We flee to thee. 
John {pondering in uncertainty). Matthias, Josaphat, did 

he not say Love? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 191 

ACT II 

Scene I 

Hall in Boman style of architecture in Herod's Palace. On the right side, 
a balcony upheld by pillars, which extends the whole depth of the stage, 
and to which a flight of steps leads. Off the balcony a door opens into 
Salome's room. Underneath, on the ground floor, another door. In the 
centre of the background is the chief entrance. On the left, a window. 
Near it a couch and other furniture. To the right, between the pillars 
of the balcony, is a divam. Carpets and tiger-skins on the floor. A 
mixture of Roman and Oriental luxury. 

Maecha, Miriam, Abi on the balcony. After them, Saiiome. The dam- 
sels step cautiously and listen. 

Salome (through the door). ' Is it safe? No one there? 

Maecha. Not a sound of any one. 

Salome. Then, come ! [.They skip down the stairs.] 

Salome. Ah, here it is light, and one can see oneself re- 
flected in the walls. Do you know why we have been 
suddenly mewed up in the apartments above? Yester- 
day we were allowed to wander as we listed through 
all the passages, to dance unveiled in the gardens, and 
peep through the railings and mock the passers-by. 
But today, since my uncle came, we have had to sit 
moping in sackcloth and ashes. Why? Do none of 
you know why? 

Maecha. Mistress, the house is now filled with strangers 
who were not here yesterday. And, it is said that the 
men who are in the Tetrarch's following run after 
young maidens. 

Salome. Let them! I am not afraid of any men. ... I 
take them as I find them. ... I love them. 

Abi. Thou knowest men, mistress? 

Salome. I mean not the men of our own people! They 
wear beards on their chins like great pads of hair, and 
before one can look round, they stand there barefooted 
. . . And then people say — No; I mislike that. But 
once, when I was with my father in Antioch, I met 
pale youths with golden brown hair, and they wore 



192 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

red shoes and smelt of perfumes. . . . They were 
Greeks, my father said, real Greeks from. Hellas. . . . 
They smiled, and it made me thrill. . . . Why dost 
thou stand there sulking, Miriam, and listenest not to 
my converse? It doth not please thee? Laugh, or I'll 
beat thee. If thou laughest not, I '11 have thee whipped! 

MiEiAM. Let me be whipped, mistress. 

Salome. Where wast thou last night ? The palace guards 
said thou wouldst visit thy sweetheart. . . . Thou hast 
a lover? (Roguishly.) Whisper his name in my ear 
and I'll give thee a gold pin. 

Miriam. I have no one that loveth me, mistress. 

Salome. The language of you Judeans hath an insipid 
flavor, and your eyes dissemble. Yet, I love Jerusalem. 
A purple haze hangs over its gables. And it seemeth 
to me ever as if the sun in Jerusalem kissed one 
secretly. But ye could not understand how that is 
... ye have not the blood of the great Herod in your 
veins. My mother hath it, and I have it from her. . . . 
And whatever they may say in Jerusalem, my mother 
was wise to run away from that other husband, for 
the one here is of more account than he. And because 
she was so wise, and at the same time so sadly fooUsh, 
I love her, and will share the consequences of her folly. 
[She flings herself on the couch.] 1 am not displeas- 
ing to my uncle Herod. ... I have remarked that he 
casts stolen glances at me. . . . Now when my mother 
scolds me I shall know how to tease her! [Trills 
forth.] I am the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley. 
Cometh not my friend into his garden to eat of— 
Miriam, where does that window look out? 

Miriam. I do not know, mistress. I have never been in 
this hall before. 

Salome. Go and see. 

[Miriam looks out of the window and starts.] 

Sai>ome. Why dost thou start? 

Miriam. Did I, mistress? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 193 

Salome. Tell me what thou seest? 

MiBiAM. There are many people standing round a foun- 
tain, and — 

Salome. And? 

Miriam. I cannot — 

Salome {stands up and goes to window). Ah! {Looking 
out for a moment in silence). Miriam, who is that? 

Miriam {confused). Whom dost thou mean, mistress? 

Salome. Is there any one else but him? . . . Miriam, thou 
gentle, brown Miriam {half threateningly), deny him 
not ! 

Miriam. It is — John — the Baptist. 

Abi, Maecha {hurrying up, all curiosity). The Baptist? 

Salome. Let him be who he may . . . See how the people 
surge round him! Have ye ever in your valley seen 
a rock bend? He doth not bend. Ha! ha! Not he! 
Only if — perhaps — [She stretches out her arms.] 

Herodias enters from centre. 

Maecha. Mistress, thy mother ! , 

[The three maidens withdraw quickly from the win- 
dow.] 
Herodias. What are ye doing here, damsels? Salome 
thou! Shall we let it be said that we have brought 
evil manners into Jerusalem? 
Salome {intending to wound, but outwardly meek). Me- 

thinks it is said already. 
Herodias {enraged). Go! 
Salome. Yes, mother. 

[She crosses over, and lingers between the pillars of 
the balcony.] 
Herodias, Ye damsels, stay! Ye are Judeans? 
Maecha. Yes, mistress. 

Herodias. Intelligence hath reached me of one they call 
the Baptist stirring up rebellion in the streets. Which 
of you know the man? 
Maecha. She does. 

Vol. XVII- 13 



194 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Abi. She hath this moment confessed it. 

Heeodias. What dost thou know of him? 

MiEiAM. That last night I sat at his feet praying. 

Salome ( coming forward). Thou ? Thou ? 

Maecha. Pardon! A moment ago he was standing close 
to the Palace. 

Hehodias. Show him to me. 

Maecha {from the window). Now is he gone. 

Hehodias {to Miriam). So speed after him, and when thou 
hast found him, bring him privately through yonder 
gate. [Points below to the right.] 

Salome. She shall not. ... I will not . . . Not her! 

Heeodias. Why not? 

Salome {throwing her arms round Miriam). She is dearest 
to me. I wiU not let her go out of my sight. [Comes 
over and supplicates Heeodias. J Mother! 

Heeodias. Art thou still such a child? {To Miriam.) Go! 

Salome {angrily). Miriam! [Exit Miriam.J 

Heeodias. Such a child, and already hast the tooth of a 
serpent in thy mouth! 

Salome {kneels on the couch before her mother and encircles 
her knees with her arms). Forgive me, mother. We, 
thou and I, are not like others. We sting those we love. 

Heeodias {in a low voice). And those we hate? 

Salome (Mfcewise). We kiss! 

Herodus, {laughing) . Child! [She kisses her.] 

Salome {laughing). Thou kissest me! 

Enter the Palace Captain. 

Palace Captain. My master, the Tetrarch Herod, would 

see thee, mistress. 
Heeodias {in growing anxiety covers Salome's face with 

her veil). Go, make haste ; go ! 
Salome. Mother, I am dull in the upper chambers. May 

I not stay near thee? 
Heeodias {looking toward the door). Go, instantly! 

[Salome slowly climbs the stairs with her com- 
panions.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 195 

Hebodias. Thou art Captain in the Palace? 

[The Palace Captain hows.] 
Heeodias. Go, set watches at every door. Who entereth 

goes not out again. . . . And be silent. 
Palace Captain. One has but to see thee to know that 
thou art the mistress. . . . How should I not be silent? 

[Goes to the door.} 

Enter Herod, Gabalos, Meeokles, Jabad. Exit the Palace Captain when 

the others enter. 

Hebod. Princess, after waiting even the space of a moment, 
a man will enjoy his favors to the fuU. . . . Therefore 
. . . [Kisses her on brow and mouth.'] Pardon! 

Heeodias. Thou hast rested; art refreshed? 

Hebod. That question thou oughtst not to ask me. My 
father was one of those men who never knew what 
weariness was. So his son, likewise, parts company 
with his pillow betimes, and — 

[He observes Salome who, with her veil slightly 
lifted, looks down from the balcony, and after she 
sees that he has noticed her, vanishes.] 

Heeodias. Thou art silent. 

Hebod. Thy daughter is not with thee? 

Hebodias (dryly). No. 

Hebod (bows his head, smiling). Allow me, Princess . . . 
to present these friends. ... I will not call them 
servants, for such they are not. 

Meeokles. Oh, mistress, they are servants whom thou 
mayest safely make thy friends. 

Jabad. And they are friends in order that they may serve 
thee. 

Gabalos. And are amply rewarded for both, great mistress. 

Hebod (smiling). This rascal, whose Syrian dialect thou 
art now acquainted with for the first time, is Gabalos 
from Antioch. Thou seest, I tolerate his jesting. 

Gabalos. For Herod the Great also kept a fool. 



196 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Herodias. And people say that he acquired a second fool 
before he let the first drown. 

[Gabalos bows, smiling, then turns aside with a 
grimace.] 

Herod. This is Merokles, the rhetorician. His voice car- 
ries far. It is heard in Rome, when folks there would 
be deaf to my own. 

Meeokles. But I shall take no satisfaction in that voice 
till it may greet thee, mistress, with the cry * ' Hail to 
thee, Queen! " 

[Herodias starts and smiles, then exchanges a glance 
with Herod. J 

Merokles (in a low voice, joining Gabalos). Thou madest 
a good hit ; I a better. 

Herod. And in contrast to this cool flatterer, here is Jabad 
the Levite, my guide and my conscience ever since I 
set foot on Jewish soil. For, by Bacchus, he knows 
exactly what I have to do, every moment, in order to 
be pious, after the manner of my pious people. 

Gabalos (aside). He acts as if he had forgotten the way. 

Merokles (aside). For- by so doing he thinks he will the 
more resemble his father. 

Herod. As an example, what ought I to be doing at this 
sacred moment? 

Jabad. The sun is sinking, master. Thy Passover lamb, 
one year old and flawless, hath been slaughtered in the 
Temple. It is now in the courtyard to be blessed. 
Thou, as the lord and master of this house — 

Herod. Must do it myself? 

Jabad. Thine illustrious father did not, and there was, on 
that account, grumbling amongst the people. 

Herod. Blessing is cleaner work than slaughter. I will 
do it. See, ye wise Greeks, that we must serve the 
gods in order to rule over men I And in the end we 
serve to no purpose. [He motions them away. To 
Jabad. J Go and make ready, and I will follow thee. 
[Exeunt Gabalos, Merokles, and Jabad.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 197 

Scene II 

Herod, Hbrodias, later Salome with Magcha, on the balcony. Herod ant 
Herodias stand together a few moments in silence. 

Heeodias. Art thou content? 

Heeod. Thy kindness oppresses me. Whether thou an 
content seemeth to me of more importance. 

Heeodias {feeling his tone of contempt). I have had m 
roof over my head for three nights. Like a tramp ] 
have wandered in the dust of the roads. My serving 
women one by one deserted me. Only Salome hat! 
not forsaken me. . I have robhed her of her father ; th< 
father I have robbed of his child. And what I hav( 
robbed my husband of thou canst estimate better thai 
it beseemeth me. See, all this I have done for thee 

Heeod. I have abandoned my wife, who also said she lovec 
me. She flew to her father. He now maketh read3 
for war to avenge his child's wrong. Only a trifle if 
lacking: I have no army. In Rome I am threatenec 
with disgrace ; my brother curses me ; Judea points th« 
finger of scorn at me. ... So little have I done foi 
thee — 

Heeodias. And thou repentest this little already? 

Heeod. No! only forgive me if I blame thy coming to< 
soon. 

Heeodias, Too soon! Was warmer welcome ever hear( 
than this "too soon"? 

Heeod. Take not my words amiss, I entreat thee ! 

Heeodias. I dare not say that longing drove me here. 

Heeod {with an embarrassed smile). Say it ... by al 
means! 

Heeodias. Then thou hast not forgotten the days — o: 
eloquent looks and silent vows — when every breatl 
was a longing desire and every word a feast? 

Heeod. How should I forget? Love, how should I— ? 

Heeodias. And thou rememberest no more the nights whei 
wandering footsteps stole to the fragrant gardens 



198 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

where, in the feverish blossoming around them, two 
sleepless ones mingled their sighs? 

Herod. How could I not remember ; Love, how could I not ? 

Hebodias. I have clothed myself in Indian draperies; I 

have put pomegranate blossoms in my bossom, and 

gold dust in my hair . . . but thou seest nothing ! . . . 

My converse is bridal, but thou hearest it not. 

[Salome has appeared on the balcony with Maecha. 

Hekod notices her.] 

Salome. Wait; let me see whether he has already come. 
\_8he looks over, and after her eyes have met Heeod 's 
she vanishes.] 

Hebodias (observing his absence of mind, with an exclama- 
tion). No! thou hearest nothing. 

Hbbod (quickly recovering himself). Well; what if it is so? 
The language of our soul, which thou art kind enough 
to call bridal, was fitting to the delight of those fra- 
grant gardens. Today, methinks, we have another 
task before us! 

Hebodlvs. Thinkest thou that I have been idle? Am I a 
woman who cometh to beg of thee a nightly dole of 
caresses? Look at me. . . . Not thy beloved. . . . She 
exists no longer. . . . See in me thy ruUng mistress! 

Heeod, I am looking, and I see a woman who raves. 

Hebodias. As real as the ambition of thy mistress, as real 
as the secret resentment which gnaws beneath thy 
own; despite thy ever-ready smiles. 

Heeod (horrified). Who told thee . . . whence . . .! 

Hebodias. So real and positive is my hold over thee. Just 
now, when thou didst say I raved, thou wast reflecting 
how thou couldst best get rid of me. . . . Thou fool; 
then get rid of thy wakeful nights and all that which 
thou thinkest great in thyself, the inheritance of that 
greater thsin thou, whom thou wilt never equal. . . . 

Hebod. Woman . . . what . . . 

[JEfis words choke in his throat.] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 199 

Hekodias (laughing). Speak out what thou hast to say. 
If thou no longer needest me for love, thou mayest 
still require me as a listener and adviser. 

Hebod (after he has walked up and down several times in 
great excitement) . Never resemble. . . . What is the 
man who smiles amiably in wrath? A coward? . . . 
What is the man, who has two faces? Insincere? . . . 
Who fawns on those in power? Servile? No; because 
the great Herod also did these things. But sometimes, 
when the blood throbbed to bursting in his veins, he 
snatched his sword from the sheath and slashed at 
friend and enemy alike who stood in his way . . . till 
the blood of his victim washed him calm and cool again 
... till the mighty at Eome experienced a thrill at 
such a display of strength. ... I, too, feel the blood 
hammering in my veins. ... I, too, would . . . but I 
have no sword . . . and so I must continue to smile 
amiably . . . continue showing two faces, and licking 
the sandals of the priests. ... I, the son of Herod; 
I, his ape! 

Hebodias. And suppose that the priests of the Temple 
adopted the attitude of shield and barrier betwixt thee 
and the fury of the people, wouldst thou doubt thyself 
less? 

Heeod. I doubt myself not. And what thou sayest can 
never happen. 

[Hebodias goes to the middle door and opens it. 
A Porteress enters.] 

Hebodias. What tidings hast thou? 

The Pobtebess. The two messengers to the Temple, mis- 
tress, have come back with word from the High Priest. 

Hebodias. Show them into the outer hall. . . . They shall 
wait there. [Exit the Porteress.] 

Heeod (with a laugh of rage and fear). Are their trumpets 
already sounding on the road? Hath the great curse 
already reached the door? 



200 THE aEEMAN CLASSICS 

HEEoniAS. Thou art wrong, my friend. Only a little bless- 
ing scratches at the door. ... If it pleaseth thee, let 
it come in. 

Herod. Thou dreamest. 

Herodias. Listen to me ! Why did I come before thee in 
haste to inhabit this empty house ? . . . Because every 
hour since I came I have been negotiating with the 
priests — 

Herod. Thou? 

Herodias. What if instead of hiding the sinful woman 
from the people, thou, with head held aloft, repairest 
with her to the Temple? Would it not be a merry 
jest if the High Priest, with the same air of patriarchal 
servility with which he greeted the virtuous Mariamne, 
also smiled a welcome to thy brother's runaway wife! 

Herod. With what sum hast thou purchased this? 

Herodias. When it is given, it will be a present, not a 
purchase. 

Herod. Only one who knows not these butchers of the 
High Altar could believe you. 

Herodias. Well, these are the terms {in a low voice). 
If we were to promise never again to aspire in Eome 
to the sceptre of Judea (scoffingly), then they might 
consider — 

Herod. And what answer didst thou make to such inso- 
lent, such — 

Herodias. I promised. . . . What else should I do? . . . 
for thee, as well as myself. 

Herod {pointing to himself). Even before this booty was 
thine, thou hast betrayed it? 

Herodias. I fancied that I heard thee crying out just now 
for a sword. {Smiling.) When thou art king, thou 
wilt, of course, kill all whom thou hast promised not 
to be king! That is the same thing as if thou hadst 
never promised it. 

Herod {staring at her). Woman! 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 20] 

Heeodias. Believest thou still that I hurried here only foi 
the sake of a kiss ? 

Herod. I shudder at thee. But even if the priests be woi 
over, there remains the people, the hydra-headed ; thov 
knowest not the people. They once, it is said, hurlec 
sacrificial victims at the head of their king, they sle"w 
Barachia's son between the Temple and the altar 
And besides, dost thou not know that John the Baptisi 
is in the town? 

Herodias. The Baptist! Leave the Baptist to me. 

Herod. I warn thee, approach him only with a weapon ii 
thy hand! [Herodias laughs.] 

Enter Jabad and several servants. 

Jabad. Pardon, master, the lamb is ready. 
Herod. First, we will hear what the priests have to saj 
if your mistress, our mistress, so pleaseth. 

[Herodias assents, smiling.] 
[Exeunt all.] 

John and Miriam come through the lower door to right. 

MiBUM. Await her here, Rabbi. . . . What are thy com 
mands to thy handmaiden? [John shakes his head.] 
[Miriam kisses the hem of his garment and goet 
out.'] 

Sgks left clone for a brief space. Enter SaxjOME, and two of het 

damsels. 

Salome {steps softly to the balustrade and gazes down 0% 
John, seeks in her breast for a flower, and not finding 
one turns back to Mabcha). Give me those thou wear- 
est in thy girdle. [She takes the roses which MABCHi 
hands to her and throws them down.] He doth not 
see them. Bring more flowers, and thy harp. Stay 
Maecha, or I shall be afraid. [Exeunt the maids, ex- 
cept Maecha.] Thou fair savage, out of the wilderness 
of Judah! The fire of hate that flashes from thy eyt 



202 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

shall not devour me ! I wiU kindle another fire in it, 
lovely and languid like my dreams, when at night the 
perfume of the narcissi is wafted to my pillow. [The 
maids come back.] Give them here. . . . Roses . . . 
two arms' full. [Hides her face in the flowers.] Now 
if I had narcissi, too! Nay, hut tarry and sing the 
song which I taught you yesterday, the song which the 
dancers sang at Antioch. But sing softly, so that he 
he not shy of us. Where is Miriam? 

Abi. She refuseth to come. 

Salome {between her teeth). She refuseth! He saw the 
rose. He is picking it up . . .as if he had never — 
There are more . . . and more . . . and more, \_8he 
scatters the roses down on him.] 

Song of the Maidens 

[The following is aecompamed by the harp, which, after playing a finale 

alone, dies away.] 

I have entertained thee with myrrh and honey. 

I bound sweet sandals on my feet. 

From my waist I have loosened the girdle, 

I have sung with the harp, thee to greet. 

Now come, let us quench 

The fire that consumes me . . . Come ! 

Or thou from fear shalt blench. 

For my soul will hate thee . . . Come! 

John {has looked up astonished. The hail of flowers 

strikes him in the face. He shrinks back). Who 

playeth with me? 
Salome {who has slowly descended the steps). Master; I — 
John. Who art thou? 
Salome {coyly trifling). I am a rose of Sharon and a lily 

of the valley. 
John. Then play with thy mates . . . Leave me in peace 

. . . or go and call her who summoned me. 
Salome. My mother? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 203 

John. Thou art Salome the — 

Salome. Yes; I am she. 

John. Let me look into thy eyes, maiden. 

Salome. Look, master . . . No, but not like that. . . . 
If thou compellest me to put my hands before my face, 
I shall spread my fingers apart and laugh between 
them; yes, I shall laugh. 

John. Maiden, knowst thou not how abhorred this house 
is? Keepest thou thy soul innocent among the guilty? 

Salome. Look at me again, master. . . . Am I not young 
among the daughters of Israel? And I have heard 
say that youth knoweth nothing of the guilty and of 
guilt. See, they keep me confined to the upper 
chambers. I drew back the bolts and crept out here, 
because I knew thou wast here, master. 

John. How can I say to the storm wind: " Pass by," 
and to the floods, " Swallow her not? " 

Salome. Speak on, master, even if I understand nothing 
thou sayest. And knowest thou that we are now sin- 
ning according to the Jewish law? Both of us — 
yea, it is true. My companions are gone; and is it 
not forbidden for a Jewish man to be alone with a 
virgin? 

John. I am not alone with thee. Behind us standeth the 
shadow of those who have dragged thee with them 
through the foul refuse of their pleasures. 

Salome. I have my own pleasures, master. How shall the 
pleasures of others concern me? I read once a saying 
that stolen fruits are sweet, and my nurse used to tell 
me that undiscovered treasure was only found by those 
who did not seek for it. . . .Is it not true thou hast 
not sought me? 

John. Thy converse is confused. 

Salome. No matter. Chide me not. Think, are not our 
dreams confused too? When I flew hither with my 
mother, we came at night to a field of poppies. And 



204 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

the dew shone on their petals. . . . They looked 
gray, and were all closed up because it was night. . . , 
But now they are wide open, and I think my cheeks 
must glow red in their reflection. 

John. Thou art lovely among the daughters of Jeru- 
salem. They will weep for thee. 

Salome. Why will they weep ? Am I to be sacrificed ? Not 
I, master. Protect me! I have heard of a king, 
master, who made a compact with the sun. Hast thou 
heard of him? [John bows his head.] 

Salome. Well, I will make a compact with thee. Shall I 
be the sun, and thou my king? Or wilt thou be the 
sun, and I thy queen? 

John. Maiden, I cannot be either sun or king. 

Salome. Why not? It is only a game. 

John. A King cometh after me, but I wander in the 
wilderness and seek a path among thorns. 

Salome. And hast not found it? 

John. Not for myself. 

Salome. But for others ? 

John {in torture, half to himself). Who knoweth? 

Salome. Master, what harm shall wrath do one, who is 
a jubilation and a feast day? And if thou earnest to 
me in flames of fire, I would not mourn my youth for 
the length of two moons. ... I woidd stretch out 
my arms and cry, " Destroy me, flame; take me up! " 

John {after a pause). Go! 

Salome. I am going. [She rushes into the arms of Hebo- 
DiAS, who enters.] Mother! 

Enter Herodias and her women. 

Salome. Forgive me, mother, and let me stay with thee. 
Herodias. Thou who lookest at me so imperiously, art 
thou the man who stirreth up the people against me? 
John. I am he whom thou hast summoned. 
Hebodm^s {seating herself). Come hither to me! 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 205 

John. Send thy women away, and this child, so that she 
be not corrupted ere she is ripe. 

Hebodias. The women shall go. [Exeunt the women.] But 
this child, companion of my fate, shall hear what thou 
hast to say to me. 

John. She should be guarded from what I have to say 
to thee. 

Hebodias. Take care, prophet ! At that door stand armed 
men, two deep. Consider thy danger, so that thou 
court not death ! 

John. I am a servant of life, and danger never standeth 
in my way. 

Hekodias. I respect thy faith, prophet, and so would 
speak to thee in a friendly spirit. . . . People have 
told me of a man who keeps far away from human 
dwellings, and only descends now and then to the banks 
of fresh waters to bless, so it is said. That pleased 
me well. . . . The great willingly bow to greatness 
. . . and so I bow to thee. 
[Salome, after cowering at her feet, springs up, and 
throws herself on her neck.] 

Herodias. I will not reproach thee for denouncing me ir 
the market-place of Jerusalem, for thou dost not kno\s 
me. . . . Yet I was not well pleased that thou didsl 
chew the cud of wormwood, which hath embitterec 
these Judean cattle against me. I should have thoughl 
thou wast too proud, thy solitary nature too noble ! 
John, I have not come here for thy praise or thy blame 
I have but a simple question to ask. Art thou goinj 
on the first day of the Passover to the Temple, at th( 
Tetrarch's side? 
Herodias {mastering her scorn with difficulty). I perceive 
thou great prophet, that thy wrath strains at its chain 
. . . Before thou lettest it loose, permit me also t( 
ask a question; for see, I am endeavoring to approacl 
thee, and would gladly win thee. Wert thou not i 



206 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

riddle to me, I should not ask it. Yet truly no man is 
so curiously fashioned as not to cherish secret wishes 
in his heart. Every one hath said to himself: " This 
were my delight, and that my desire." 

John. I understand thee not. 

Herodias, Look round thee. Doth not the gleaming snow 
of marble attract thy eyes, nor the yellow glitter of 
gold? [John is silent.] 

Heeodias. Or . . . hast thou never dreamed of the power 
and splendor and riches of this world? 

[John still silent.] 

Heeodias. Or {pointing to "Salome, who again cowers at 
her feet) has thy heart not trembled at the sight of 
this sweet, unveiled youth? 

Jons (after further silence). Thou wouldst buy me? Dost 
thou know thy own price? A few measures of barley 
would be too dear . . . for thy name is courtesan, 
and adulteress is written on thy brow. 

Heeodias {infuriated). Thou — thou — 

Salome {falling into her arms). Mother! 

Heeodias {controlling herself, haughtily and contemptu- 
ously). I should have thee seized on the instant, only 
thou makest sport for me. And if not quite drunken 
with thy own folly, listen to me once more. He who 
thinketh himself designed to be a judge over men 
should take part in the life of men, should be human 
among human beings. 

John {impressed). What . . . didst thou say? 

Heeodias. But thou seemest to me so isolated from thy 
fellow-men that the throb of a human heart itself is 
nothing to thee. . . . Thou hast avoided, coward-like, 
all contact with sin and guilt in thy waste places, and 
now creepest forth to cbndemn others as guilty. The 
scorching winds of thy desert may perhaps have 
taught thee hate . . . but what knowest thou of love? 
of those who live and die for the sake of their love? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 207 

John. Thou too speakest of love . . .• thou too? 

Heeodias. See! I am laughing at thee, great prophet. 
[She laughs.'] 

Salome. Mother, look at him ... be silent! 

John. Thy poisoned arrows are well aimed, and hit their 
mark! But . . . {pointing to the window) see there, 
the Lord's people . . . they gnash their teeth against 
thee, for thou hast taken their bitter bread out of their 
mouths and dissipated their miserable joys. . , . Thou 
sayest that I know them not. . . . Yet I know their 
heart's desire . . . for I have created it ; I have put 
my life at the service of that desire, and I cry to thee, 
" Woe ! thou that hast contaminated it for them. . . . 
Thou dost sap the strength of their young men, and 
expose the shame of their young women. Thou sowest 
scoffings where I thought to reap faith. . . . And if 
thou bendest the high and mighty to be the footstool 
of thy lusts, I will fling the poor and humble in thy 
path, that they may trample thee beneath their feet. 
. . . Woe to thee, and woe to him who shareth thy 
adulterous couch! . . . Woe, too, to this youthful 
body that cringes under the scourge of thy blood! 
Woe! Woe!" 

Heeodias (springing up and going to the door on right). 
The guards shall seize him. . . . Guards! . . . [She 
wrenches the door open.] 

Enter two guards. 

Heeodus. Lead this man. . . . [She hesitates as she 

meets John's eyes.] 
John (smiling). Look to it, what thou dost with me! 
Heeodias. Lead this man . . . out . . . into the street. 

. . . [She staggers to the divan.] 
Salome. Thou camest ia flames of fire . . . ! 

[John walks to the door.] 



208 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

ACT III 

Scene I 

A room in Josaphat's house. In the backgrotmd a door, which leads into 
the street. Near it a barred window. On the left side is a door to 
another living room. A door also on the right. In the foreground to 
left a cobbler's tools. Toward centre, a table and two or three benches. 
To the right, a couch, a small table, and chair beside it. The room ia 
poor, but not bare; lighted by two clay lamps. 

Jael with a child at her breast. Two other children and several women 
standing near door on left listening to a psalm sung by men's voices, 
which is heard in subdued strains coming through the door. 

Boy. What are they singing now, mother? 

Jael. {pale and troubled). They sing the great Hallelujah, 

my child. 
Boy. Is the prophet singing with them, mother? 
Jael. That I cannot hear, my child. 

[Two more women come through middle door.] 
First Woman. Jael, we have heard that the Great Prophet 

eateth the Passover in thy house. Wilt thou permit us 

to see him? 
J'ael. Come in! 
One of the Other Women. That is he, the last there on 

the left. 
First Woman. He that sitteth there looking so heavy of 

spirit? 
Second Woman. I should be frightened of him. 

\_The singing has meanwhile ceased.] 
First Woman. They say that he hath come into the town 

to judge Herodias. Is that so, Jael? 
Jael. I know not. 
Boy. Mother, see, they are now drinking the fourth goblet. 

They will be here directly. 
First Woman. Hath he spoken a blessing over the fourth 

goblet? 
Second Woman. No; Josaphat spake it. 
First Woman. See, they are standing up! 
Another. Are they coming hither, Jael? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 209 

Jael. That is the couch on which he will rest. 

Several. Then farewell, Jael. 

Jael. Farewell! [They hurry out.] 

Jael with her child/ren. Johit, Josaphat, Amabiah. 

JosAPHAT. Here thou wilt be alone, Rabbi. The others 

remain outside. 
John. Accept my thanks, Josaphat. 
Amabiah. Mine, too, Josaphat. 
Josaphat. Thank him, Amariah, for eating with us. 

[While John seats himself, he says, sotto voce, to 

Amabiah.] Come! [^Observes Jael, who has been 

standing at the door unnoticed.] Jael, thou here, and 

the children? 
John. Is that thy wife, Josaphat? 
Josaphat. Yes, Eabbi. 
John. And thy children? 
Josaphat. Yes, Eabbi. 
John. Thou hast never told me of these. ... Is thy 

name Jael? He called thee so. 
Jael. Yes, Eabbi. 

John. Why comest thou not nearer? 
Boy. We are afraid of thee, Eabbi. 
John {smiling). Why are ye afraid? 
Boy. I do not know. 

Josaphat. Forgive him, Eabbi . . . he . . . 
John. Josaphat, wilt thou intrust them to me for a few 

minutes? 

[Josaphat bows his head, signs to Amabiah, and 
goes away with Mm to the right.] 
John. Thy eyes have a sad look, Jael. Is thy heart 

troubled? 
Jael. Kneel down, Baruch, my son. Kneel dovra, both. 
Boy {half crying). Mother! 
John. What is it, Jael? 
Jael {to the children). Say: Prithee, Rabbi! 

Vol. XVII— 14 



210 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Childben. Prithee, Rabbi. 

Jaeu And this little one prayeth, too, though not 
enough to pray. . . , 

John. For what? 

Jael. That thou wouldst give them back their fat 
for see, they have no bread. 

John {lifting the children from their knees). Just 
we ate of the lamb in thy house, and thou sayest ' 
have no bread? " 

Jael. I do not speak of today; today the poorest ] 
something to eat. Thou art truly a great proj 
Rabbi, and thou givest much to the people; but 1 
us — from me and these little children — thou ta 
away all that we have. 

John. How could I do that, Jael! 

Jael. See; for a long time my husband goeth out e 
night to thee in the wilderness, and then the tool 
there idle, and we starve. But willingly would 
starve and die of hunger for him, if thou hadst 
estranged his heart from us, and stolen his love 
thyself. 

John. Art thou, too, one of those who say. Greater ' 
the law and sacrifice is love? 

Jael (anxiously). I did not say that. Rabbi. . . . 1 
wouldst not get me into trouble with the priests? 

John. But thou thinkest so in thy heart ! 

Jael. Rabbi ! 

John. Hadst thou come to me in my wilderness, I w 
have shown thee the way to One who shall bring 
to the hungry. Here, I am powerless. Go; I 1 
nothing to do with thee ! 

[Jael goes with the children to the dt 
[John makes a movement as if he would call 
back.] 

Jael. Rabbi! [John shakes his hi 

[Exit Jael, with the childt 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 21] 

Enter Josaphat, Amabiah. 

John. Josaphat, how long have I known thee? 

Josaphat. It is two years since I came to thy baptism. 

John. And since, thou hast been often? 

Josaphat. Have I not always been with thee, Rabbi? 

John. I never knew that thou wast a cobbler . . . anc 
that thy children cried for bread! It seems to me 
that I do not know thee even yet, Josaphat. 

Josaphat. Thou knowest what is best in me, for thou hasi 
given it to me ! 

John. So, then, I know myself alone. And of thee, too, 
Amariah, I know no more. . . . Only this I know, 
[Gazing into vacancy.} I am sent — [Breaks off.] 

Josaphat. Rabbi ! 

John. Some one hath said to me that I knew you not; 
one of those who have the word " love " on theii 
tongues. . . . And I am inclined to believe her. . . 
But even if I have known you, I have not desired to 
love you, but rather. to judge you in the name of — 
In whose name? Know ye the rest? 

Josaphat. In the name of Hitn who shall come. So thou 
hast taught us, master. 

John. Sooner would I talk to these black walls, that thej 
might perhaps fall; sooner to thy hungry children, 
that my words might fill them. But the belief thai 
looketh up to me, transfigured because it believeth, 
. . . That hurts me. 

Amabiah {low to Josaphat). It is now the second hour. 
Wilt thou not mention Herod to him? 

John {as Josaphat comes nearer to Mm). I sent the 
youngest of you to search for the Galilean- Where 
is he? 

Josaphat. He has not yet come back, roaster. 

John. May be he hast lost the way. 

Josaphat. I told him where to come, master, 

John. I want the Gralilean. ... Ye shall procure me the 
Galilean. . . . See ye not that my strength rests ir 
my King? . . . Even if I serve Him like an un 



212 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

worthy vessel ... I serve Him according to my 

measure. ... I have borne witness to Him. ... Is 

that not true? 
JosAPHAT. Thou hast borne witness, indeed, Rabbi. 
John. But the testimony hath grown up in my soul. 

When He comes, will He bear it out? 
JosAPHAT. He will, master; for God sendeth Him. 
John, Else my soul hath not known Him, even as it hath 

not known you. Have ye no news of Manassa? Go 

and keep watch outside, that he doth not miss the 

house. 
JosAPHAT. That will be he! [Goes to open the door.] 

Enter Matthias. 

JosAPHAT. Thou, Matthias? Hast thou not seen Manassa? 

Matthias. No. Rabbi, I come to thee in the night because 
of Herod. 

John. Because of Herod? [Seats himself with head 
turned away.] 

Matthias. I sent spies to the Palace up till the time of 
the Passover Feast. The priests were coming to and 
fro. What their business was no one knows. And if 
he come now to the morning sacrifice at eight of the 
clock, as is his custom on high festivals . . . and 
come with that woman . . . flaunting his sin in the 
face of the people. . . . Rabbi, speak! What then? 

[John does not answer.] 

Amabiah. He hears thee not. 

JosAPHAT. He is thinking of the Galilean. 

John. I heard some one here speak of sin. Eaiow ye in 
what raiment sin clothes itself gorgeously when it 
goeth abroad among the people? Say courtliness, say 
hate, say what ye will, and I shall laugh at you. Hear, 
and mark well. They call it love. Everything that is 
small, and stoops because it is small, that throws 
crumbs from its table in order not to throw bread; 
that covers up graves that they may stink secretly; 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 213 

that hews off the thumb of the left hand that it may 
have nothing to say to the thumb of the right; take 
care ; all that is called love. And they call it love when 
in spring the ass brays and the dogs whine; when a 
woman herself gathers together the stones whereon to 
rest with her lover in the evening, stones which in 
the morning the people will hurl at her, and the woman 
speaketh: " See, beloved, how sweet is our couch." 
. . . They call this love. 

Matthias {after exchanging a look with Josaphat). Babbi, 
forgive us, but the people are waiting for thee. The 
many who desert their beds, expectant of the morrow, 
think only of one thing — judgment ! The judgment of 
Herod. 

John. Judgment of Herod — well. 

Josaphat. And thou shalt judge him. No one else but 
thou. 

John. I will judge him. 

Matthias. Him and the woman? 

John. Him and the woman. Did ye doubt? 

Matthias. If we did, forgive. 

Amaeiah. But suppose he comes without the woman. 
What would happen then? 

John. Ye ask so much. Ye and your questions become 
wearisome. Hark! There is Manassa. [Josaphat 
opens the door.] 

Enter Miriam. 

John. Miriam, thou? What desirest thou of me? 
Miriam {breathless). I flew from the Palace. . . . The 

guards have chased me. . . . Perhaps what I know 

. . . may be of use to thee. 
Josaphat. Speak, Miriam! 
MiBiAM. If the master will hear. With you others I havf 

nothing to do. 
John. I will listen, Miriam. 



214 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

MiBiAM, A rumor has reached the Tetrarch that the peo- 
ple are plotting evil against him. He would on that 
account hide the woman, but she will not be hid. She 
will defy the master, because he hath offended her. 
An order is gone forth for all the servants of the 
house to arm themselves and line the road. Even dur- 
ing the night, so that the procession shall pass to the 
Temple ere the great crowd assembleth. Thus they 
think to escape the people's wrath and thine, master. 

The Disciples. That shall not come to pass; verily it 
shall not. 

JosAPHAT. Hast thou learned, Miriam, by which of the 
outer gates they go to the Temple? 

Miriam. By the Shushan Grate. I heard the servants say, 
as I crept by. 

Josaphat. And will the Soman soldiers be amongst them? 

MiEiAM. That I did not hear. 

Josaphat. For if the Romans accompany them, we must 
wait behind the second gate; there where no heathen 
may penetrate at the cost of his head. 

Matthias, On the other hand, they can there be saved by 
the priests. 

Josaphat. Certainly, there the priests — Master, what is 
thy counsel? 

John. I counsel you to go forth into the streets, and to 
seek right and left. I would learn from that Galilean 
what <K)unsel I ought to give you. 

Matthias. Canst thou understand him? 

Josaphat. I would liefer not understand him. 

[Exeunt Josaphat, Matthias, and Amabiah.] 

MmiAM shrmks against the wall near the door and looks shyly across at 
John, who broods with his back turned to her. 

John {suddenly noticing her). Thou, Miriam, art still 

here? 
MiBiAM. Forgive me, master. I am a little afraid; for if 

I go homeward the guards at the gate will seize me. 
John. But thou camest to me in the wilderness at night? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 215 

Miriam. Then no one knew with whom I associated, 

master. 
John. Who art thou? Tell me about thyself. Who is 

thy father? 
MmiAM. I have no father — and no mother. The country 

is full of orphans like me. There are far too many. 

I have never asked any one why. 
John. And why didst thou go to the Palace as serving 

maid? 
Miriam. They say that I once sat and played with pebbles 

on the threshold. And when evening came, they took 

me in. Since then I have belonged to the Palace, and 

know no better. 
John. Thou servest me with zeal, Miriam. Why dost 

thou serve me? 
MnoAM. I know not why. 
John. And thou servest me to no purpose — knowest 

thou that? [Miriam bows her head.] 

John. Will they not punish thee? 
Miriam {with a shudder). They will . . . I. . . . 
John. Speak ! 

Miriam. Master, what does it matter? 
John. Miriam, is it also He who shall come that thou 

servest? 
Miriam. I cannot tell, master. When I see thee, I feel a 

longing for Him. . . . But if thou speakest to me of 

Him, I see only thee. 
John. Ye children of men . . . there is a rushing as of 

many waters in your souls. . . . Clear and muddy 

... I shall gather all together in one great river, 

and I feel as if I should drown therein. 
Mirum. Master, now I must go. Whether or no I have 

served thee to no purpose, be gracious. Praise me, 

master. 
John. I see thee sitting on the threshold again . . . 

playing with thy life, and thou stirrest my pity. , . . 

Go, maid! Go, child! and — [He listens.] 
Miriam. Master ! 



216 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Enter Josaphat, Matthias, Amabiah, Manassa. 

John {going forward to them). Where is the G-alileai 
Manassa. I have sought Him, master, from the hour 1 

sentest me till past midnight. I have not rested 

tasted a crumb. 
John. The Galilean? Hast thou found him? 
Manassa. I found him. He lay stretched out on the st< 

in charge of the soldiers, and near him, in chains, 

his murderer. 
Amaeiah. Who, on the holy eve of the Passover — ? 
Manassa. They called him David the Zealot. The C 

leans blaspheme God, he hath said, and therefore n 

this one die. 
Josaphat. It is true; he did blaspheme God. 
Matthias. He blasphemed God! 
John. But I say unto you ... To him it was not l 

phemy. To him it was worship. Methinks more s 

men will come out of Galilee. For there is an uprii 

there. . . . Tell me, Josaphat, do not many pilgi 

sleep on the stones at night, nigh the doors of 

Temple? 
Josaphat. Yes, Rabbi. On starry nights, like these, m 

a one wraps himself in his blanket and tarries by 

House of the Lord. 
John (in sudden decision). It is well. [Ei 

Matthias. Rabbi ! 
Amaeiah. Hath he deserted us? 
Josaphat. Be not troubled! Thou, Amariah, wake 

friends. Thou, Manassa, bring us tidings from 

Palace. We two will follow the master. Meet u 

the Shushan Gate, at the place where the old begj 

woman sits. Come ! 

[Exeunt the men. Mibiam, who has stood unheei 
goes out with bowed head.'] 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 21< 

Scene II 

A stone square before the open gate of the Temple called the Shushan Gate 
The front of the stage is inclosed by the circuit of the outer wall, h 
the centre more than half the breadth of the stage is taken up by thi 
massive doors of the gate, to which steps lead. It is night. The fire o 
the great sacrificial altar is reflected from the background on the walls 
and fills the foreground with red, uncertain flickering glow. 

Pilgrims {men and women) lie in their blankets, scattered about the step^ 
and on the stones which fill the space on left side. Among them thi 
First Galilean and Second Galilean. To the right of the path whici 
leads outside the wall of the Temple, across the stage, lies MesuI/EMETH 
In a little while John enters from the left. 

John {looks round searchingly, and pauses before a pit 

grim who is sleeping on the steps). Pilgrim, awake 
Pilgrim. It is not yet day. Wliy dost thou wake me? 
John. Whence comest thou? Art thou a Galilean? 
Pilgrim. I come from Gaza on the southeast coast. Le1 

me sleep. 
Second Galilean {to first). Didst hear? Some one there 

is talking of Galileans. 
First Galilean. Sleep, and let them talk. 
John {walks on, and then pauses in front of Mesulemeth) 

Thou who liest here by the way, be thou man or woman 

awake! 
Mesulemeth, Why dost thou not step over me, as everj 

one does in Jerusalem? 
John. Dost thou lie here always in the road? 
Mesulemeth. I lie here always. For I must be at tht 

Temple. Day and night I must be at the Temple. 
John, Art thou not greedy for alms? 
Mesulemeth {shaking her head). The little I want, the 

pilgrims give me. But hast thou never heard of Han 

nah, the prophetess? 
John. I have heard speak of her, when I was a child. 
Mesulemeth. Well, this is her place. Here she sat anc 

waited for the Messiah, forty years long. When she 

died she left the place to me . . . And now I sit and 

wait till He comes again. 



218 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John. Comes again? Hath He then been already? 

Mesulemeth. Certainly He hath. 

John (m deep emotion). He came? Came even to thee? 

Mesulemeth. To me? No. If He had come to me, I 
should have been at rest long ago. But Hannah . . . 
She saw Him when He came. 

John. Woman! I implore thee . . . Speak, tell me, how 
did He come? 

Mesulemeth. Then sit down here beside me, so that I 
may speak low. . . . Once a little lad was brought to 
the Temple by his mother, to be circumcised. And 
there was one called Simeon who, when he saw this 
boy-babe, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and said, 
" Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, 
for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou 
hast prepared for all nations." . . . And Hannah 
heard this, and she came up to them and recognized 
Him. 

John. How did she recognize Him? 

Mesulemeth. Did I not tell thee that she was a prophet- 
ess? Otherwise she might not have recognized Him. 
But as it was, she praised the Lord, and laid herself 
down and died. So now I sit where she sat, and wait 
for Him to come again. 

John. Verily, He must come again; and dost thou know, 
woman, how He will come? As the Lord of Hosts, 
arrayed in golden armor, with His sword drawn above 
His head, so He will come to save His people Israel. 
He wiU trample His enemies under His horse's hoofs, 
but the youth of Israel shall greet Him with hosannas 
and jubilation. See, woman, that is how He will come ! 

Mesulemeth (o«£cio«si2/)- Who art thou, stranger? Dost 
thou imagine thyself to be the prophet of any one? 

John. It matters not who I am, if thou art prepared for 
my message. 

Mesulemeth. Thou canst take thy message further. I 
will not have it. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 21S 

John. What! Thou wilt not have the Messiah? 

Mesulemeth. Not that one. I will not have that one, 
For many have come in golden armor, and have drawn 
their sword, and then Israel hath bled after, like a 
sacrificial ox. He shall be no king! No! When kings 
come, they come to kings! No one hath come, as yel 
to us, the poor — Go away, stranger, lest thou snatct 
from me my crumb of hope. Begone, thou art a false 
prophet ! . . . Go, let me lie on the road ! 

IShe sinks back.] 

John {to himself). False prophet! 

Enter Josaphat and Matthias from the left. 

Matthias. See, he is there! 

Josaphat. Eabbi, forgive us for following thee hither — 

John. It is not yet dawn. . . . At this hour ye have nothing 

to claim from me — 
Matthias. But, remember Herod — 
John. Why stir ye up so much dust? This puny Herod 

who runs after women, is not my business. 
[Josaphat and Matthias exchange dismayed glances.' 
John. Go, find me Galileans ! Wake those who sleep oi 

the steps, ransack the houses if necessary. Only brinj 

me Galileans, that I may question them. 
Second Galilean. Hearest thou? Some one standetl 

there, clamoring for Galileans! 
FntsT Galilean. I thought I dreamt it. Thou, who will 

not let us sleep, what dost thou want with us Galileans' 
John. Stand up and come to me ! 
Second Galilean. Goest thou? 
First Galh^ean. He must be great in Israel, otherwise h( 

would not command. 
Second Galilean. Yes, yes ; thou art right. 

[They both stand up._ 

Josaphat. Eabbi — 

[John signs to him with his hand to be silent. 
FiBST Galilean. Now, here we are. 



220 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John. "Who are ye? Whence do ye come? 

FiBST Galilean. We are fishermen from the Sea of Galilee. 

My name is Ram, and that is my brother-in-law, and 

he is called Abia, And we both fish with the same 

net. Is it not so? 
Second Galilean. Yes ; we both fish with the same net. 
John. And tell me, ye two men, have ye ever heard of a 

prophet that teacheth in Galilee? 
First Galilean. A prophet ! Hast thou heard of a prophet, 

Abia? 
Second Galilean. I have heard of no prophet. 
John. Not ... of one who saith . . . He is the Son of 

God? 
FiEST Galilean. Ah, thou meanest Jesus of Nazareth? 
John (in great agitation, scarcely audible). Jesus of 

Nazareth ! 
JosAPHAT AND Matthias {awcd). Jesus of Nazareth! 
John. Thou spakest His name first. Fear sealed my lips. 

But now thou hast said it. Yes, I mean Him. 
First Galilean. Yes ... I know His father well. He is 

an honest carpenter, and very pious too. He well 

deserves that his son should be a joy to him. 
John. Tell me more of Him. 
First Galilean. He put up a bedstead for a friend of 

mine. 
John. Tell me of the son. 
First Galilean. Ah, the son. Well, Abia, what shall we 

say of the son? 
Second Galilean. Aye, what shall we say of the son? 
John. Hast thou ever seen Him? 
First Galilean. Oh, yes. 
John. Thou hast seen Him? 
First Galilean. Many a time . . . from my ship. For 

He carries on His work on the shore. And there is 

always a great gathering along the banks, is there not, 

Abia? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 221 

Second Galilean. Yes, the banks are always quite blact 
with people. And the fish take notice of it. That is 
not good for our trade. 

FiBST Galilean. They say that He works miracles. ] 
once met a man myself who had been blind till his — 
I forget what year — and he maintained that he was 
made to see again by spittle from His mouth ... II 
may be possible — but — [Laughs stupidly.] 

John {to Josaphat). Have not many said of me, that ] 
worked miracles? 

Josaphat. Many say it, but we know it. Rabbi. 

John. Indeed? I have seen no miracle but power . . . 
and no one to whom it hath happened, save the weak, 
But speak on, man. 

First Galilean, It may be all very well for Him to heal 
the sick, but the worst of it is He doeth it on the Sab- 
bath. That is bad, bad I And then, His friends arc 
not well chosen. Circumspect people, naturally, art 
not disposed to mix with Him. For how can one trusi 
a man who sitteth at meat with publicans and sinners 1 
And, then. He is always at weddings and feasts. Ah ! 
No, no. 

John. At feasts? 

Josaphat. Master, these are little people. They under- 
stand not the wisdom of any lips. 

John. The great should carry the little with them, the 
wise should master these simple intellects. That He 
hath not done. . . . And what is it He teacheth? 

FiEST Galilean. Ah, what does He teach? AH sorts oi 
folly. For instance, that we should love our enemies 

John. Love our enemies? 

FiBST Galilean. And bless them that curse us . . . and 
pray for them that persecute us. 

John. Pray for them that persecute us? 

PmsT Galilean. Yes; and more nonsense of the kind 
Also that — 

Call {from the roof of the Temple). It groweth lighl 
toward Hebron. 



222 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John {eagerly). Why dost thou not proceed? 

FiEST Galilean (rising). It is now time for morning' 

prayer. 
Call (more distant). It groweth light toward Hebron. 
[All stand up and begin to pray, their faces turned 
toward the Temple.} 
Call {quite distant). It groweth light toward Hebron. 
John {baffled and tormented) . Toward Hebron it groweth 
light. 

Scene III 

The great gates are slowly opened, displaying marble walls, mownting in 
terraces, behind which are two more gates. The Temple-building itself 
is almost completely hidden by smoke from the great lighted sacrificial 
altar, which bounds the perspective. From the mountains behind the 
Temple are heard the long-drawn notes of the silver trumpets. People 
begin to stream up. 

Matthias {has gone to Josaphat's side and speaks to him 
privately, then turns to John, who stands alone on the 
left). Master, the people are flocking to the Temple. 
... In a few moments the Tetrarch will certainly be 
there too, with the woman. Wilt thou not step among 
them, that they may know their leader? 

John. The image of my King shining in the radiance of 
the cherubim — where- is it? Where is the rainbow 
of seven colors that was round His head? Seven 
torches burned by His throne. I see them no more! 

Enter Manassa. 

Manassa {hurrying up from left). Matthias, Josaphat, 

where is the master? 
Josaphat. Herod has come forth from his door? 

[Manassa assents.} 
Josaphat. With the woman? 
Manassa. With the woman. 
Josaphat. Master — {as he heeds not), Master — 
John. What is it? 
Josaphat. Herod is on the way. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 223 

John. Who is Herod? 

[JosAPHAT buries his face in his hands.] 
Matthias (to Manassa). Had he the Eoman soldiers with 

him? 
Manassa. Only his servants are with him. 
Matthias. Hearest thou, master? He is delivered into 

our hands. 

Enter Amaeiah; with a fresh crowd of people. 

Amaelvh (calling). John, where is John? 
JosAPHAT (with resolution). Here is John. 
The People (hear and murmur, joyously). See, there is 

John! 
JosAPHAT. Hear all of you ! Go not past ; and thou over 

there mayest speak. The master will listen unto thee. 
Amaeiah. Herod is coming to the Temple, wearing princely 

robes. At his side, sparkling with precious stones, 

walks the courtesan. 

\^The people break out into cries of anger.] 
JosAPHAT. Master, thy hour is come ; mount the steps and 

speak to them! 
The People (pressing round). John, speak — Kabbi, 

speak — What shall we do? 
JosAPHAT. Keep back! He will speak to you. (Aside.) 

Mount the steps ! 

[John walks as if in a dream toward the steps.] 
The People (mMrwMrm^). See! He sways. What aileth 

him? 
JosAPHAT. Make haste. Speak! 
Call. Here is Herod. Here cometh Herod ! 
The People. Stone him! Stone the courtesan! 
Othebs. Look at John! Do what John does, else are 

ye lost. 

Enter Hebod^ Herodias, with train from right. John has mounted the 
steps and stands in the middle of the threshold. 

Herod (pale, but smiling). Hearest thou what they cry? 



224 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebodias. Have Mm seized, else it means death to thee 
and to me. 

IThe people are silent and tense in expectation. 
Most of them have picked up stones.] 
JosAPHAT (who stands to the left of John on a lower step, 
hands him a stone, and says in a low voice). Take this 
stone! {More urgently.) Take this stone! 

[John takes the stone.] 
Heeod. Thou on the steps — knowest thou me not? 
JosAPHAT (whispers). Hurl the stone! 
John (firmly). In the name of Him (he is about to throw 
the stone, then pauses, half -questioning, half-swoon- 
ing) . . . Who . . . commands me . . . to love thee — 
[A low moaning runs through the people. Two 
servants have approached John. They seize him 
and push him down from the Temple steps. Herod 
and Heeodias walk up.] 
People. Woe to us ! He too hath forsaken us. Woe, woe ! 
Josaphat (to John, who is pinioned by the servants). 

Master, what hast thou done to us? 
People. Woe ! Woe ! 

ACT IV 

A town in Galilee. The stage represents a grassgrown prison yard which, 
on the right side, is adjacent to the gardens of Heeod's Palace, divided 
from them by a low wall, which continues in a right-hand direction to 
the centre of background. On the left side of background a higher wall, 
and entrance with heavy doors. To the left, the clumsy pile of the 
prison buildings and a door. In the garden wall is a gate, over which 
hangs the green foliage of the garden beyond, which bounds the right 
side of background. On the right is a semi-circular marble seat with 
back; on left, stones covered with moss. 

Enter Gaoler, Abi. 

Abi (with head thrust over the garden wall). Master 

Gaoler, dost thou not hear? 
Gaolee. What wilt thou? 

Abi. a ball went over the wall. Hast thou seen it! 
Gaolee. No. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 225 

Abi. I pray thee look for it, and throw it back. 

Gaolee. Look for it thyself. 

Abi. How can I, unless thou openest the gate? 

Gaolek. I may not open it. "Let me be. 

Abi. Listen, Gaoler. The ball belongs to Salome, our 

young Princess. If thou art not obliging, beware ! 
Gaoleb. Oh, if it belongs to the young Princess — 

[Opens the gate.] 

Enter Maeoha, and later, Salome. 

Abi (calls back, laughing). Mistress, the door is open. 
Gaolee. Is that the young Princess, who is daughter of 

his new wife! 

[Abi nods. Salome appears in the gateway.] 
Gaoleb. Princess, if ever thou comest through again, be 

sure to laugh, as today. For this gate is full of danger 

for Herod's children. 
Salome. What doth it to Herod's children, thy gate? 
Gaolee. The two sons of Herod the Great came through 

this gate before they were sentenced, and through this 

gate — 
Maeoha. Stop! . . . 
Salome. Let him alone, Maecha! His wisdom has taken 

a holiday. Hast thou no livelier stories, old man? 
Gaolee. What sort dost thou mean, young Princess? 
Salome. Stories of yesterday. Stories that have not yet 

come to an end — stories that are as young [stretches 

herself] as we are. 
Gaolee. Ah, I knew ; but — 

Salome. But? Tell me, hast thou a new prisoner? 
Gaolek. Yes. 

Salome. What has he done? 

Gaolee (maliciously). He stole hens, young Princess. 
Salome. See to it that thou dost not steal my time ! 
Abi (softly to him). With her there is no jesting. 
Gaolee. Princess, forgive. . . . I did not know. . . . Thou 

meanest, perhaps, John? 
Vol. XVII— 15 



226 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Salome. Whicli John? 

Gaolee. The one they call the Baptist — the Prophet from 
Judea, who — 

Salome. So he is here? 

Gaoler. Yes ; he has been here the last three days, Princess. 
They brought him at the end of the same cavalcade 
which brought thee. He lieth now safe with the sala- 
manders and scorpions. They say he stirred up re- 
bellion in Jerusalem, and therefore — 

Salome. I wish to see John. Bring him here 1 

Gaolee (horrified). Princess, that cannot be. 

Salome. I wish it! Hast thou not heard? I wish it! 

Gaolee. Princess, I opened this gate for thee because thou 
hadst lost a plaything. Shall I now, instead of thy 
plaything, lose this old head? 

Maecha. Mistress, the Tetrarch is coming. 

Salome {veiling herself). Hide yourselves! 

IShe stoops behind the seat; the maidens slip into 
the bushes. In the gateway Hbeod and his attend- 
ants.'] 

Enter Hebod, MeboeIiES, Jabad, Oabalos. 

Heeod. Gaoler ! 

Gaolee. Sire ! 

Herod. Who are the three men who linger about the door? 

They look morose, and did not salute me. 
Gaoler. Sire, those are the remnant of the crew which 

followed John, they say, from Jerusalem. For eight 

days and eight nights they followed him. 
Heeod. The renmant, say est thou?' Where are the rest? 
Gaolee. They lie somewhere by the wayside. Sire, and 

die of thirst, unless the ravens give them to drink. 
Heeod. Drive them away! 
Gaolee. Sire, we have hunted them off several times ; but 

they always come back. 
Herod. So, let them be. 
Merokles. See, how mild is our ruler! He doth not order 

them to be cut in pieces. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 227 

Jabad. Hail to our Euler! [The two others join in.] 

Herod. To say truth, friends, I do not lay hands on sages 
and fools willingly; for one can never know whether 
the executioner holds up the head of a sage or a fool. 

Gabalos. Thou cafist do no wrong, Sire ; for thou art wise, 
aU-wise ! 

Herod. When I order thee to be beheaded, I shall not be 
wrong ; for thou art a fool, a complete fool. {Nearing 
the seat.] Bring me — [Observes Salome, who, lis- 
tening, has raised her head a little above the edge of 
the seat, then quickly dives down again.] I beg you 
to retire, and await me without the gate-. 

[Exeunt Gabalos, Mebokles, Jabad. J 

Herod. Tell me, thou veiled one, art thou not Salome, my 
wife's daughter? 

Salome. Sire, so true as 'tis that thou art my protector, 
I am Salome. 

Herod. How earnest thou into this prison-yard? 

Salome. Ask me not. Sire. My soul else will blush before 
thee. It was curiosity, because I heard thee coming. 

Herod. And where are thy playmates? 

Salome. They are afraid of thee, so they have crept away. 
Abi, Maecha, come forth; our master commands it. 
[Abi and Maecha come out hesitatingly, and curtesy 
profoundly.] 

Herod. Thy eyes plead for them, therefore they shall not 
be scolded. 

Salome. And my lips thank thee on their behalf. 

Herod. They thank like conquerors. There is music in 
them. How is it, Salome, that I have never heard thy 
voice ? 

Salome. Thou shouldst ask my mother. Sire. 

Herod (fiercely). Thy mother! Still, I know that thou 
are well disposed toward me. Thou didst deliver into 
my hand that maid who carried on treason at night 
outside the Palace. 

Salome. Could I do less. Sire? And him to whom she 
betrayed thy secrets, wilt thou not punish him too? 



228 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebod. I do not know. But how? 

Salome. Sire, it seemeth to me that he hath a great fol- 
lowing among the people. If thou sparest him, the 
people will like thee. 

Hekod, Words of wisdom fall from thy lips, Salome. 

Salome. See how his disciples tarry at the entrance. If 
thou treatest him well, they will carry praises of thee 
to Jerusalem. 

Heeod. How unlike thou art to thy mother, Salome ! 

Salome. And how like, too ! 

Hebod. I would rather think that thou wert unlike. My 
sweet, unveil thyself. 

Salome. Sire, if thou wert my father ! But thou art not. 
Directly thou comest near, my mother herself draweth 
my veil down deep over my breast. 

Hebod. Unveil to me. 

Salome. Sire, not when I am alone with thee. 

Hebod. Then if I was with others, thou wouldst? 

Salome. Perhaps. Ask my mother. 

Hebod. A little now. Just a finger's length. 

Salome. No, really ... it is not seemly, Sire. 

Hebod. But if I were sitting with other men ... at meat 
... or over wine . . . and thou camest and didst un- 
veil thyself, that would be more seemly? 

Salome. Maybe! ... I can dance, Sire. 

Hebod. Wouldst thou dance for me? 

Salome. And what wouldst thou do for me? 

Hebod. Salome ! 

Salome (rising). No, but thou must indeed ask my mother. 
Sire. I am still far too ignorant ; I know not what a 
maiden ought to do. Only what I would like to do. 
I know that well enough. 

Hebod. What wouldst thou like to do? 

Salome. Thy pleasure, Sire. Nothing else, nothing. Seest 
thou, if thou treatest this prisoner humanely, they will 
sing thy praises, and I shall be so proud, I shall say 
in my heart. He acted on my advice. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 229 

Heeod (io i/ie Gaoleb). Bring the Baptist here. . . . I will 

consider it, Salome. [Exit GAOiiEK. j 

Salome (from the gate, with a slight -fluttering of her veil). 

And I wiU thank thee, Sire. 
Hbeod. Salome 1 * 

[Salome vanishes, with a hurst of laughter. Abi 
and Maecha have preceded her. Hebod looTcs after 
her, and then sits down on the seat.] 

Enter John, the Gaoleb and a Guard. 

Hebod. Tell me, how should one address thee when one 
would show thee respect? Thou thinkest that I mock 
thee ? But knowest thou that in reality I am indebted 
to thee? The people's meditated attack was not hid- 
den from me, and yet I came without the escort of 
warriors which Eome sent for my protection. Thou 
heldest me in the hollow of thy hand, as thou heldest 
the stone. Say, why didst thoti let it fall? Why hast 
thou spared me? 

John. Sire, even if I spoke thou wouldst not under- 
stand me. 

Hebod. That is defiance, which I cannot praise. In chains 
it is easy to be defiant. Take off his chains and go. 
{The Gaoleb obeys. Exit with the guard.] Now, as 
a free man, revile me. Art thou a preacher of repent- 
ance? If so, preach to me! 

John. Sire, thou wouldst not understand me. 

Hebod. So thou saidst before. Think of something new. 
Here in Galilee I am inclined to be mild and tolerant 
of goodness. I am told that thou hatest the Pharisees. 
I hate them too. I am told that thou hatest the priests. 
I love them not. I am told that thou hatest the 
Eomatis. I — Say, why didst thou spare me? 

John. Sire, my heart failed me. 

Hebod. Failed thee! Before me, whom thou callest 
" the little! " Art thou flattering me because I have 
loosened thee from thy chains ? 



230 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John. Thou hast not laid me in chains, and canst not 
loosen me from them. 

Hebod. What . . . and yet I made thee falter? 

John. It was Another who threw thee in my way . . . 
And so my heart failed me. 

Hebod. Tell me, Baptist — I call thee by the name I have 
heard people use in speaking of thee, and I hope thou 
wilt not be angry — tell me. Who is that King of the 
Jews whose image thou danglest before the people? 
. . . See, the guards are gone, and thy confidence 
shall be rewarded. Tell me, who is it- 

JoHN. Sire, I know not. 

Hebod. And so thou deniest thy own creature? 

John. What is my own I deny. 

Hebod. Ha, ha, ha ! I have half a mind to summon my 
little Greek that he may go to school under thee. 
Listen (in a low voice), I too have heard of a King 
of the Jews who will come with a sword drawn above 
his head, and he will spare no one who doth not serve 
him at the right moment. 

John (eagerly). Who is it of whom thou speakest? 

Hebod. Master, I do not know. Thou seest thus that I 
too have a burden of secret anxiety oppressing me, 
and await the sunrise. . . . But let me speak with thee 
seriously, Baptist. Thou hurlest thy arrows of re- 
proach at me on account of the woman I stole. . • • I 
could almost pity thee for that. Thou, a great man, 
mightst have chosen a greater subject than a woman. 
And knowest thou every day she sharpens those arrows 
herself for me? . . . But enough of that. The smiths 
say that good metal rings true even when it is cracked, 
and thou ringest true. How dost thou manage it? . . . 
I pray thee teach me the Way. . . . What, silent again? 

John. Methinks I know you now, ye smiling scoifers. Ye 
grow fat on the wit of the market-places ; but hunger 
seizes you, and ye then lift your eyes to the earnest 
ones, walking on the mountain-tops. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 23] 

Heeod. By Bacchus, there lurks some truth in that. Bui 
it is not good walking on the mountain-tops. We wail 
to see you fall; then we shall not smile, but laugh. 

John. But I say unto thee, Sire, thou wUt not laugh. Ht 
who Cometh requireth me not. That is why He casi 
me down. . . . Gaze into His eyes when He comes, 
and thou wilt not laugh, even at me. 

Hebod. It seems to me thy reasoning is poor, and revolves 
in a circle. . . . And yet there is something thai 
attracts me to thee. Baptist, thou hast so long beer 
my enemy, couldst thou not possibly be my friend? 

John. Sire, meseemeth that to be nobody's enemy and 
nobody's friend is the right of the lonely. It is theii 
all. Let me keep it. 

Heeod. Yet I do not give thee up as lost. If thou werl 
so minded we might pursue the same paths for awhile 

John. Whither, Sire? 

Heeod. Whither? Upward! 

John. For thee there is no upward. Thou bearest th( 
times that are and were before thee, like an ulcerous 
evil, on thy body. Bumest thou not from all theii 
poisonous lusts ? Art thou not weighted by their un 
holy desires? And thou wouldst mount to the heights 
Stay in the market-place and smile. 

Heeod. Baptist, take care. Thy chains lie not far off. 

John. Let me be chained. Sire ; I ask for nothing better 

Heeod {gnashing his teeth). Truly thou art ruled by i 
broken spirit. [After a little reflection.] Yet tel 
me. Baptist, when that other cometh, that other — 
Say, was it in His Name that thou didst not throw th< 
stone at me? 

John (confused). Sire, what dost thou ask? 

Heeod. Was it in His Name? For if so, thy Jewish kinj 
shall not rob my nights of sleep. Ha! ha! Here 
Gaoler! [The Gaolee comes.] The prisoner shall g( 
in and out as he pleaseth, for he is not dangerous. 

Gaolee (dumbfounded, then in a low voice). Sire, hov 
shall I answer with my life, if — 



232 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Heeod. And his disciples, who loiter about the gates. Let 
them in and out as often as he wishes. . . . Now, did 
God's people ever know a more element lord than If 

[Laughing, walks away.] 

Gaolee. Well, thou art now thy own master. What are 
thy commands? 

John. The Tetrarch spoke of my disciples — 

Maecha {appearing in the gateway to left). He is alone. 
[Salome signs to the Gaoler. Exeimt Maecha and 
Gaoleb.] 

John. What wilt thou? 

Salome. Master, seest thou the sun sinking yonder be- 
tween the pomegranate boughs? 

John. I see it. 

Salome. Knowest thou whose doing it is that thou art 
able to see it ere it goeth down, and ere thou goest 
down? Mine! 

John. May be. What dost thou want? 

Salome. Thou shalt not go down. Not thou. For my 
soul is thirsty. Teach me, master. 

John. What shall I teach thee? 

Salome. See, I am pious by nature, and I have a longing 
for salvation. . . . What thou givest to the humblest 
by the highway, give also to me. Let me sit at thy 
feet. I wiU be pious. Yea, I will. And if I touch 
thy hairy shirt, then be not frightened. I mean thee 
no harm. 

John. Why shouldst thou mean me harm, young virgin? 

Salome. Who can say ... if thou shouldst reject me! 
No one knows how powerful I am today. When I 
stretch my limbs {she spreads out her arms) it seems 
to me as if I carried the whole world like this . . . 
only to hug it to my heart. 

John. Maiden, thou hast a plajonate. 

Salome {attentively). Which playmate? 

John. Her name is Miriam. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 233 

Sai^ome. I had her. Now she is dead. 

[John bows his head, his suspicions realised.^ 

Saiomb. I had her slain because she went to thee. No 
one shall go to thee except me. Seest thou now how 
pious I am? Seest thou? My soul feels thy strength, 
and feels it with joy; for I have never seen any one 
so strong as thou art. I have made thank-offerings 
and secret vows like those the Psalms sing of. Then 
I have been forth in the gloamiag to seek thy coun- 
tenance and the light of thy eyes. And I have decked 
my bed with beautiful, many-colored rugs from Egypt, 
and I have sprinkled my pillows with myrtle, aloes, 
and cinnamon. I will give thee my fair young body, 
thou barbarian among the sons of Israel! Come, let 
us make love till morning. And my playmates shall 
keep watch on the threshold, and greet the dawn with 
their harps. 

John. Verily, thou art powerful ; thou carriest the world 
in thy arms . . . for thou art sin itself. 

Salome. Yes. Sweet as siu. . . . That am I. 

John. Go ! 

Salome. Thou spurnest me ! Spurnest me? 

\_She rushes through the gate.] 

John goes to the door, where the Gaoler is waiting. 

Gaolee. Wouldst thou see thy disciples now? 
John. Bring them to me. 

[Manassa, Amaeiah hasten to him and kiss his gar- 
ment. JosAPHAT hangs bach,] 
John. Matthias is not with you? 

JoSAPHAT. No. 

John. "What, Josaphat, thou who wast ever the nearest to 

me, hast thou no greeting to give? 

[Josaphat turns away.] 
John. "Well, then, what is it? 
Josaphat. Eabbi, it is written . . . One knife sharpens 

another, and one man another ... but thou hast made 

us blunt. 



234 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

John. And thou hast come this long way to tell me that? 

JosAPHAT. Eabbi, thou wast to be the way that all the 
erring should follow. Thou wast to strengthen weak 
knees and mold trembling hands to the sword's hilt. 
Thy work was wrath, Rabbi, but thou hast made of it 
a snare and a weakness. 

John. Thou knowest not what my work was. Had I 
known myself, I should not be here. Truly the time 
of my fall is come, when enemies sing my praises and 
friends speak ill of me. What would ye have me do? 
My end must be in solitude and silence. 

JosAPHAT. Thy end, Rabbi, is no concern of ours. It is 
for Israel's end that I fear. Thou tookest the law 
from us. What hast thou given us instead? 

John. Who art thou, that like a kenneled hound, thou 
bitest at my shanks? I took the law from you? My 
soul hath wrestled with the law till it is weary; my 
forehead beat against its walls till it bled! But now 
ye have opened your mouths wide that salvation should 
slip down them like sweet crumbs. Ye gazed up at me 
so long as I stood erect, and now shrink away like 
cowards from my fall. I have not fallen for myself, 
I fell for you. To you it was a compulsion and a 
matter of watching. To me it was voluntary, and a 
combat at the sword's point. . . . Look at me! Twice 
today I have been face to face with the world's sin. 
But it seemed to me almost fair, for I have yet to 
meet the worst. Thou art a renegade! Thou hast 
ever been a renegade, and renegades will ye be to all 
eternity, ye men of universal utility, who manure your 
acres with the blood of those who have died for you! 
Go! I am weary of you! 

JosAPHAT. I am going, Rabbi, whither Matthias hath gone 
before me, to Jesus of Nazareth. 

John {startled and moved). To Jesus of Nazareth? 

• [JosAPHAT turns silently to go out. Exit.'\ 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 235 

John. How, Amariali, and how, Manassa? Those whom 

I trusted the most have forsaken me, and ye are still 

here! 
Amariah. Rabhi, I was at all times the least among thy 

disciples. What should I be worth if I were not 

faithful. 
Manassa. And to me, Eabbi, thou hast given a hope. 
John. Yet he is gone to Jesus of Nazareth. Be ye not 

fools. Go with him. 
Manassa. Let us be fools, Eabbi. 
John {sitting down on a stone). So seat yourselves with 

me. Night draweth nigh, and I am weary. Hearken ! 

It was even as if I heard a beating of wings above me. 

Did ye hear nothing? 
Amaeiah. Nothing, Eabbi. 
John. My inmost soul lies open. I am ready for the 

blessing from on high. Is there not a whispering 

roundabout? Heard ye nothing? 
Manassa. Nothing, Eabbi. 
John. There is a light shining over yonder mountains. 

Lovely is that light, and within me dawns the meaning 

of this riddle. Who alone can deliver the world? He 

who will bestow upon it the unattainable. We are in 

G-alilee. Know ye not where He now teacheth, this 

Jesus of Nazareth? 
Amariah. We heard in the streets that He was not far off. 

He tarries on the sea-coast. 
Manassa. And they say He may perhaps come into the 

town. 
John. Mayhap. Yet only mayhap ! And my time is over. 

I must make haste, lest I die. Will ye do me a service? 
Amaeiah, Manassa. Eabbi, command us ! 
John. Else and go unto Him. 
Amaeiah, Manassa. To Him? 
John (nods). And wheresoever ye find Him, speak to 

Him. Ask: "Art Thou He Who cometh, or shall we 

wait for another? " So ask Him, and when He hath 



236 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

answered, come back — quickly — for my longing for 
Him is very great. I believe I could not die ere ye 
returned. 

Amaeiah. Master, we will not pause or rest. 

John. And ye will not forget my darkness in His radiance ? 

Manassa. Master, why makest thou us ashamed? 

John. Then, farewell. 

Manassa, Amaeiah. Farewell, Rabbi. iThey turn to go.'\ 

John. Go not thus; not yet. Let me clasp your hands, 
ye that are the least among my disciples. For {in 
great emotion) methinks I — I — love you. 

ACT V 

Scene I 

Hall in HebOd's Palace. A row of pillars, raised by two steps, in the 
background, which lead to an open balcony with balustrade. This can 
be shut off by curtains, which at first are thrown back. A street is sup- 
posed to run at the foot of the next story. In the middle of the stage, 
raised on a dais, is a table, with couches ranged round it; flowers and 
ornaments. Doors to right and left. 

Servants moving about, arranging pictures and flowers, GabaIiOS superin- 
tending them; afterward, Herod. 

A Servant (announces from door on left). Our governor! 

Herod (following him). Now, Gabalos, thou who hast 
been washed in many waters, what has thy art pro- 
vided? Thou knowest our guests are spoiled children. 

Gabalos. Sire, thou needest have no anxiety about food 
and drink. Something customary is best for jaded 
palates. Therefore I chartered the cook of Vitellius. 
But for the other part of the entertainment the pros- 
pect is bad. 

Heeod (smiling). Is that thy opinion? 

Gabalos. Noble Merokles will declaim a new ode, I war- 
rant. Our Libyan flute-players will have washed their 
brown legs in honor of the occasion. Sire, mistrust 
those legs even when washed. As I tell thee every day, 
we are sick of Judean morality. Judean morality is 
devouring us like the plague. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 237 

Hebod. Say, Gabalos, dost thou think that our Legate 
from Syria, before whom all the gaiety and color of 
life doth shimmer, hath ever seen a young daughter of 
princes dance at table? 

GabaIiOS. That would be grand, because it is something 
new. 

Heeodias enters from right. 

Hebod {noticing her). Get thee gone! 

[Gabalos and the servants withdraw to the back- 
ground, where they let down the curtains which 
now shut in the hall.] 

HiiEOD. What hast thou decided? Will it come to pass? 

Heeodias. Thy countenance beams. Thy eyes betray a 
badly concealed desire. 

Herod (bewildered) . Of what desire dost thou speak? 

Hebodias. Do not prevaricate. I know thee, my friend. 
The poisonous weed which thou cultivatest with little 
sighs, and coverest up with thy crooked smiles, I 
know it! 

Hebod. I vow, love, that I ask this only for the sake of 
the Roman. And how should I ever have conceived the 
idea had it not been for thy half -promises and sugges- 
tion of its possibilities? Thou knowest as well as I 
that we must offer the Eoman something immense, 
something that may not have faded from his tired 
memory when he enters Csesar's presence. 

Heeodias. That is it. And thou thyself gainest thereby a 
dainty tit-bit for thy lonely night-dreams ! It will be 
nothing more than that — I shall see to it. 

Hebod. I am simple of understanding. I cannot follow 
thee. 

Heeodias. Oh, yes ; very simple is thy understanding. I 
know. 

Heeod. Then it seems thou refusest? 

Heeodias. How could I refuse, when youth smiled and 
consented? 

Heeod. Ah! And what reward wilt thou claim? 



238 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hekodias. Nothing. 

Hekod. Thou art like those priests, dear. What didst 
thou ever do for nothing? Hasten then, I pray, to 
name the price! 

Hebodias. Farewell ! 

[Heeod looks after her, shaking his head.] 

Heeodias {turning round). Before I forget it, tell me, my 
friend, what wilt thou do with that Baptist? 

Herod. My Baptist is nothing to thee. 

Hebodias. The maids tell me he wanders about loose in 
the gardens. 

Hebod. Let him; he will not hurt thee. 

Hebodias. I only asked, because I wish to know how I am 
to avoid him. 

Hebod. I will take care, love, that he doth not meet thee. 
But enough of the Baptist.. Once More thy price, 
Herodias? 

Hebodias. Look at me ! Here is a woman that no longer 
adorns her own body because thou now scornest it; 
she therefore adorns instead the body that came from 
hers. Here is a woman whose breasts have withered 
because her eyes have shed tears of blood. Therefore 
she will let the budding bosom, from which the veil has 
never yet fallen, be exposed to thine and thy guests* 
lustful gaze. And for this sacrifice of unspeakable 
bitterness I ask nothing, for I am without wishes. 
One who can still hope shall ask. Salome shall ask. 

Hebod. Salome ... I would rather it were so. 

Hebodias. And thou wilt grant what she asks? 

Hebod. I know not. I will see. I will let myself be driven. 

For in combat with the strong that is the last resource 

of the weak. But take care whither I am driven . . . 

mistress! [Exit.l 

Enter Heeodias and Salome. 

Salome {putting her head through the door). Mother, am 

I to dance here ? 
Hebodias {softly). Come. Art thou trembling, my dove! 

Art thou afraid of thy own will? 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 239 

Salome. Take my hand, mother. I am not trembling, 
because I know that thou art my will. 

Heeodias. Not I ! thou must will. 

Salome. For that only the one who willeth exerciseth 
power? [As Heeodias regards her suspiciously, she 
adds quickly.^ I read that in the Scriptures, mother. 
I did not understand what it meant. 

Heeodias. Listen to me, thou sharpwit. A carpet of 
Indian wool will be spread here, there the Prince will 
sit with the foreign guests. . . . Let not thy foot 
touch the stone, raise not thy eyes. . . . Dance thy 
dance modestly, and when thou hast finished, wipe 
signs of shame from thy face ; hearken narrowly what 
the Tetrarch saith to thee. And if he should say, 
" Now ask of me," then — 

Salome. What then, mother? 

Heeodias. Ask nothing. . . . Then look at him for the 
first time a long, smiling look, and . . . ask nothing. 
After that thou mayest demand. 

Salome (attentive). What shall I demand, mother? A 
gold hair-ornament, or shoes of velvet? No; I know 
what I will ask — a mirror. 

Heeodias {passing her hand through Salome's hair). 
Verily thou hast never felt hate to boil in thy breast, 
like love on a night in May? 

Salome {feigning innocence). No, mother. How should I? 

Heeodias. Thou hast never felt an insult coursing through 
thee, like burning, liquid fire ? 

Salome {in the same tone). No, mother; in truth I have 
not. 

Heeodias. Thou shalt demand no mirror, no hair-orna- 
ment, and no velvet shoes. But that the head of him 
they call John the Baptist shall be brought to thee on 
a dish. 

Salome {setting her teeth, and controlling herself with 
difficulty). On a golden dish? 

Heeodias. What dost thou say? Understandest thou me 
not or — who — 



240 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Salome. There is something else. One thing more I want 

to be sure of! Will /le know — that . . . that Baptist 

— from whom the request cometh? 
Heeodias (breaking out). Certainly, he shall know! I will 

stand behind thy bloody trophy as thy wiU. 
Salome (half to herself). As the will of my will , . . 
Hekodias. I will grow over him, as the sword groweth 

forth from the sleeve of the executioner . . . \_Trum- 

pets sound.] Come! 
Salome. And I will grow over him like a sweet grapevine. 

[Exeunt both, to right.] 

ScE2srE II 

Hebod, Vitellhis, Maeicellus (and other Bomans of the Legate's suite), 
Meroklbs, Gabalos, Jabad. 

Heeod. Welcome to my table, exalted ViteUius, who bring- 
est on the soles of thy feet the sacred soU of Rome into 
my poor dwelling. Welcome to you also, ye who fol- 
low him, according to Rome's command. She, our 
august mother, but ordereth what my soul desireth. 

ViTELLius. Thou hast my thanks, excellent prince. 

Heeod. Repose now at thy pleasure, exalted one. [They 
lie on the couches.] 

Gabalos (low). Say, my brave Marcellus, how dost thou 
like this Jewish ear-wig? 

Maecellus. It doth not find its way to our ears. 

Heeod. And if thou wilt consent to crown thy brow with 
this wreath, as our Lord and Master, I shall be able 
to persuade myself that I am thy guest, instead of 
thou being mine. 

ViTELLius. Thou art Rome's guest. Highness. Thus I 
will accept what befitteth me. [Puts on the wreath 
which a servant hands to him.] 

Gabalos. There was a sting in that speech. 

Heeod {quichly collecting himself). My good Merokles, 
begin. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 241 

Merokles {stands up and reads from a roll of parchment). 
" Cooled by Hebron's far-gleaming snow, 
The fiery soul, concealed in ice, 
Favors with its flickering smile 
Us the worshippers. 

** So thou sendest forth twofold beams of silent light, 
So flames for us shoot forth from thy coldness, 
So we prize as sacred thy flickering smile, mighty 

Vitellius — 
Till we— " 

Vitellius. My dear friend> what is this man talking 
about? 

Heeod. Doth it displease thee, exalted one? 

Vitellius. It seemed to me that he called my name. In 
the case of his desiring a favor, it shall be imme- 
diately granted if he promises to keep silent for the 
future ! 

Gabalos. Oh, friends, what a success! 

Vitellius. Nevertheless, thy peacock's liver is good, very 
good, my dear Herod. 

Hbbod. Thou rejoicest me, exalted Highness. Wilt thou 
not now command thy Libyan flute-players to come 
and charm thy ear? 

Vitellius. My ear is obedient. Let them come. 

Salome {thickly veiled) led in by Hehodias while the harps are tuned. 
A murmur of astonishment runs round the table. 

Vitellius. Are these thy Libyan — 

Herod {who has risen). This is my wife, exalted Highness. 

Vitellius {also rising). Mistress, if thou Avilt grace this 
feast with thy smiles, I bid thee welcome. 

Heeodias. Pardon, noble Vitellius. The custom of the 
East, over which thou reignest so gloriously, doth not 
permit of my sitting beside thee at table. Yet we know 
how to entertain even when we are not merry. My lord 
and consort, zealous to please thee, hath commanded 
me to adorn myself and my little daughter to enter 

Vol. XVII — 16 



242 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

thy presence, though trembling, that after the manner 
of a maiden she may delight thy eyes with maidenly 
art. 
ViTELLius. Hail to thee, Prince, and to thy noble wife! 
Rome will not be grudging where thou art so lavish. 
Hearest thou not? 
Herod (with his eyes fixed on Salome). Exalted, look! 
ViTELLius. Truly, he is right ; let us look, Romans. Open 
your eyes wide, for what is coming is the art of all 
arts. And if thou tremblest, maiden, remember that 
thou rulest because thou tremblest. 
Maecbllus. It must be owned, Gabalos, that ye do the 

thing handsomely. 
Gabalos. Ah, my brave Marcellus, see to it — is it fast on 

its shoulders? 
Maecellus. Who? What? 

Gabalos. The head! the head! Look at Herodias. That 

will cost some one his head! Only whose is not yet 

known. 

Maecellus (pointing to Salome). Silence! . . . See! . . . 

[Salome has extricated herself from the arms of 

Herodias and, accompanied by exclamations of 

admiration and delight, has begun to dance. Her 

dance becomes wilder and m,ore abandoned; she 

gradually loosens her veil, then covers herself with 

it again in voluptuous playfulness, till at last, 

quite unveiled, she stands with the upper part of 

her body apparently unclothed. She sinks on her 

knees half exhausted, half in homage, before 

Heeod, who stands on the right side of the table. 

All break into ecstasies of applause. Herod rushes 

forward to raise her. Herodias, who has retreated 

as far as the procenium on right, and has watched 

everything intently with a harassed expression 

playing on her face, now intervenes to prevent him. 

She and Herod exchange hostile glances.] 

Herod (hoarsely). Salome! 

Salome. Sire ! 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 243 

Hebod. Stand up and speak. 

Salome {slowly rising). What shall I say, Sire? 

Hebod. I am a poor man. Rome — who gave Herod's son, 

as if in mockery, the name of Herod — Rome has not 

left him much of his father's heritage. Yet enough is 

still his wherewith to thank thee. Speak, what wUt 

thou have? And by that God and Lord before whom 

we kneel in the dust, barefoot, at Jerusalem, I swear 

it shall be thine. 
Salome. I beg and desire that thou wilt give me, on a 

dish, the head of John the Baptist. 
Hebod. Herodias — thou ! 

ViTELLius. Dear friend, whose head doth she want? 
Hebod. The head of a man, great legate, who lies in my 

prison, whom I have there learnt to respect, I had 

almost said, to love. 
ViTELLius. Oh, oh ! . . . And is he on view, this man for 

whose head daughters of princes dance before thee? 
Hebod. Fetch him. [Exit servant.] Damsel, thy mother 

hath led thee into this. Thou knowest not what thou 

askest. . . . Take back thy request. 
Salome. I beg and desire that thou wilt give me the head 

of John the Baptist on a golden dish. [Silence.] 
Hebod. And if I refuse? 

Hebodu^s (drawing herself up). Thou hast sworn. Sire. 
ViTELLius (laughing). Of course, my friend, thou hast 

sworn. We are all witnesses of that. Ah! What 

sylvan god are they bringing in there ? 

John is led in by two armed men. 

Hebod. I have summoned thee. Baptist. I am sorry for 

thee. Prepare thyself, for the evening of thy days 

is come. 
John. I am ready. Sire. 
Hebod. Understand me. I am truly sorry. But thou must 

meet death. Now, on the spot. 
John (after looking searchingly toward the door). Sire, 

grant me a respite. 



244 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

ViTELLius. Thy hero appears not all too ready. A little 
more and he would whimper. 

Heeod. Baptist, wherefore dost thou ask this respite? 

John. I have sent out messengers and await their return. 

Hekod. To whom hast thou sent these messengers? . . . 
Thou art silent. . . . As I said before, I am from 
my heart sorry. So much might have been made of 
thee. . . . StiU . , . [He shrugs his shoulders.'] 

John {holding out his arms distressed). I beseech thee, 
Sire! 

ViTELLius. Did not I tell you? All kinds of people strug- 
gle to live, only the Roman understands how to die. 

Heeod. Thou must ask the maiden, Baptist. Klnow that 
in her hands rests what chance thou hast of the thing 
called life. 

Saix)me. Master, now seest thou how powerful I am? Now 
ask me ! Ask me ! 

Heeodias (prompting her, behind). If he does ask, laugh 
at him. 

Salome. Perhaps, but who knoweth what my heart de- 
sir eth? . . . Now, master, why dost thou not beg? 

John, Maiden . . . I . . . 

Salome. There is the stone floor, see! The stone longs 
for the touch of thy knees. [Paztse.] 

Enter the Gaolim. 

Hekod. What brings thee here? 

GrAOLEE. Forgive, Sire. Had I not known that thou wast 
friendly toward the prisoner . . . 

Heeod. What dost thou want with him? 

Gaoleb. Two of his friends who were with him yesterday, 
the same thou sawest outside the gate, have come 
back, and learning that his life is now in jeopardy — 
thy servant hath told me, and I have got everything 
ready — they became like creatures possessed, and 
implored me to lead them to him wheresoever he 
might be. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 245 

HJBBOD. Dost tEou approve, mighty legate? 
ViTBLLius. Dear friend, this is the most enjoyable enter- 
tainment that has ever been provided for me at meat. 
Let them come! Let them come! 

[Herod signs.] 
[Gaoler retires behind curtain of door and beckons.] 

Enter Manassa and Amaeiah. They seem at first as if they would rush 
to John, but, overcome by shyness, stand etill. 

John. What have ye to tell me? 

Manassa. Master ! 

Herod. Speak louder, my good men! Unless ye let us 

participate in the news, I wiU have you carried off 

through separate doors. 
Manassa. May we, Master? 

John. Speak freely, for methinks we are alone together. 
Manassa. We took the road in all haste to Bethesda, and 

at break of day we found Him there. 
John. Ye found Him there? 

Manassa. And many people were gathered about Him rest- 
ing in the olive gardens, and praised the Lord for the 

miracle which had been done to them at that hour. 

And behold there was a light in every eye, and in every 

mouth the music of thanksgiving. 
John. And He? How looked His countenance? What 

were His gestures? 
Manassa. Master, I know not. 
John. But ye saw Him? 
Amabiah. Eabbi, thou mightest as well ask. What is the 

face of the sun, and what the gestures of light? . . . 

As we beheld His smile we sank to the ground, and in 

our souls was a great peace. 
John. And when ye had questioned Him, and He began 

to speak, tell me what was His manner of speech? 

Say on; I stand here awaiting His wrath. 
Amariah. Rabbi. ... He spoke to us like a brother. 

His speech was simple. 



246 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Manassa. And it was beautiful . . . like the voice of the 
wind which blows from the sea toward evening. 

Amabiah. And this is what He spake. ' ' Go and teU John 
what ye have seen and heard. The blind see, the lame 
walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead 
rise, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." 

John. The poor — He said the poor? 

Manassa. And when He prepared to come hither to this 
town with the people who were gathered about Him, 
we accompanied Him as far as the gate, and then hur- 
ried on before, according to thy wish. 

John. And said He nothing else to you? Reflect weU. 

Amaeiah. Yes; yet one more thing. He said, "Blessed 
is he who hath not been offended at me." But this 
we could not understand. 

John. But I understand it well and to whom He spoke. 
I have been offended, for I have not recognized Him. 
And my anger filled the world, for I knew Him not. 
Ye yourselves are my witnesses that I have said, " I 
am not the Christ, but one sent to prepare the way 
for Him that cometh." A man can take nothing to 
himself that is not given him by Heaven. And unto 
me nothing was given. The key of death ... I held 
it not . . . the scale's of sin were not confided to me. 
For out of no man's mouth may the name of sin sound, 
save out of the mouth of the one that loveth. But I 
would have scourged you with iron rods. Therefore is 
my kingdom come to shame, and my lips are sealed. 
I hear roundabout a rushing noise, as of many waters, 
and the divine radiance is near me. ... A throne 
hath descended out of heaven amidst darts of fire. The 
King of Peace sitteth thereon in white robes. And 
His sword is called Love, and His watchword is mercy. 
. . . Behold He hath the bride. He is the bridegroom. 
But the friend of the bridegroom standeth and listen- 
eth, and rejoice th over the voice that is coming. The 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 247 

same is my joy. Now is it fulfilled. [He stands with 
his arms outspread and his eyes turned toward heaven. 
Manassa and Amakiah sinh at his feet.'] 

ViTELLius. Dear friend, it seems to me that we have had 
enough of this maniac. 

Heeod {between emotion and scorn). John, I am truly 
grieved on thy account. And when He cometh of whom 
thou dreamest, I will greet Him as I have greeted 
thee. Ha ! ha ! ha ! Lead him to execution. 

Salome. Now, ash me ! \^As John smilingly looks beyond 
her.] Mother, will he not ask? 

Scene III 

ViTELLius, his suite, Herod, Heeiodias, Salome, MerokIiES, G-abalos, 

Jabad. 

ViTELLius. My friend, thy banquet has been somewhat dis- 
turbed. \_As Heeod stares at the door through which 
John has disappeared.] No matter what I say, he 
does not hear me. 
Hebod. Exalted highness, pardon! 

[Salome has crossed over the stage and goes stealth- 
ily to the door on left. In great curiosity she 
draws back the curtain, and after gazing eagerly 
through it, reels backward into the arms of 
Heeodias. Outside, behind the middle curtain, an 
ever-increasing tumult and murmur of many 
voices has arisen.] 
ViTELLius. Bid the women to sit down. Thou hast an ill- 
conducted people. They brawl in the street while we 
dine. 
Heeod. Are they already muttering about the Baptist? 

Gabalos, look to it, and tell them to be quiet. 
Gabalos It shall be done. Sire. [Exit.] 

Salome (pointing to the door, the curtains of which are 
open). Mother, see what they are bringing. See! 

[She rushes out.] 



248 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Hbeod {descending the steps of the dais). What does she 

want there? 
Heeodias. Sire, thou art of simple understanding. I 

advise thee to look the other way. 
Hehod. What is she doing? 
Heeodias. She is dancing ! She holds the charger with the 

Prophet's head high in her arms, and dances. 
Jabad. See, she dances! 

Heeod. So thou hast corrupted thy own flesh and blood. 
So thou wilt corrupt us all. 

[Heeodias smiling, shrugs her shoulders.] 
Meeokles. She sways. She will fall! 

[Heeodias goes out composedly.] 
Meeokles. The head is rolling on the floor! 
Maecellxjs. Oh, horror! 

[Heeodias comes back supporting Salome in her 
arms.] 
Salome. Mother, where is the dish? Where is the head? 
Heeodias. Make obeisance. Speak thy thanks. 
Salome (before Heeod). Sire, I am a rose of Sharon — a 
lily of the valley. . . . Who would thank me should 
pluck me. . . . Oh, look at the head! 
Heeod. Take the women away! 

[Heeodias curtsies, and leads, smiling, the half- 
swooning Salome off to right.'] 

Without Herodias and Salome. Gabalos has reentered from left. 
Heeod. Well, what is the matter? 
Gabalos. Sire, the people will not be restrained. Men and 

women in holiday raiment fill the streets and crowd 

on the roofs. They carry palms in their hands, and 

sing and shout for joy. 
Heeod. What are they singing? 
Gabalos. Thou knowest, Sire, I am not servile, but I 

scarcely like to say. 
Heeod. Speak ! 
Gabalos. Hosanna to Him Who shall come ! Hosanna to 

the King of the Jews. So they sing. 



JOHN THE BAPTIST 249 

Herod {grinding his teeth). I have had John beheaded. 

Who may this one be? 
Gabalos. If thou wouldst see Him, Sire, they say He is 

coming this way. 
Herod. I will see Him. I will greet Him as I promised. 

Ha! ha! ha! Open! 

The curtains are drawn aside. One sees the roofs crowded with women 
waving palms. Others, with palms in their hands, climb the hilly street 
below. The shouting swells in volume and becomes an orderly, harmoni- 
ous song. 

ViTELLius {who has continued sitting, turns round indig- 
nantly). What is going on there again? 
Herod {has grasped a goblet, and springs on the topmost 
step). Greeting to thee, my King — of the — 

[He looks, stops short . . . the goblet slips from 
his hand, he turns away and hides his face in his 
mantle.] 
[The others also stand, looking down in silent amaze- 
ment. The Hosannas rise from the street.] 




GUSTAV FRENSSEN 

By H. CONBAD BlEBWIRTH, Ph.D. 
Associate Profeaaor of German, Harvard University 

rUSTAV FRENSSEN was bom on the 19th of 
October, 1863, in the little village of Barlt, 
which lies on the western coast of Schleswig- 
Holstein and belongs to the district of Dit- 
marschen, where also Hebbel, Storm, and 
Klaus Groth had their early homes. His father, a joiner, 
managed to send the boy to the Latin school of a neighbor- 
ing town, in order to have hun prepared for the study of 
theology and the ministry of the Lutheran church. In due 
course of time young Frenssen went for his professional 
training to the universities of Tiibingen and Berlin, passed 
his state examination in Kiel and, at the age of twenty- 
seven, became pastor at Hemme, about thirty miles to the 
north of his birthplace. In 1902, however, after his first 
great success as a writer of fiction, he gave up the ministry 
and removed to Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg and 
Altona. There, on a beautiful wooded bluff which over- 
looks the busy traffic of the largest German port, he has 
since lived, devoted to the study and description of the cus- 
toms, manners, and morals of his more immediate country- 
men, the descendants of the old Frisians and Saxons. 

Frenssen 's first novel, The Sand Coimtess, appeared in 
1896, when he was thirty-three years of age. This was 
followed, in 1898, by another novel. The Three Faithful 
Ones. In the next year, 1899, Frenssen published a volume 
of his sermons under the title of Village Sermons. Then 
came, in 1901, his Jorn Uhl, the novel which made his repu- 
tation and which sold within eight years to the number of 
216,000 copies — an almost unprecedented success in the 
German book market. In 1903, Frenssen put forth a play, 

[250] 



GUSTAV FRENSSEN 251 

The Home Festival, and, in 1906, a new novel. Holy Land, 
which again had an enormous sale and which contained as one 
of its chapters the author's conception of the life and mis- 
sion of Jesus, issued subsequently in a special volume as The 
Life of Jesus, and appearing in this volume. The year 1907 
brought a book of a somewhat different kind from Frenssen 's 
pen, namely, Peter Moor's Trip to Southwest Africa. It is 
a graphic and interesting account of a young soldier's trip 
to the German colony in southwest Africa, of the hardships 
endured and the battles fought under a tropical sun, and 
of his return home after illness has unfitted him for further 
service. Similar in many respects to Peter Moor is the 
next book, Klaus Hinrich Baas, published in 1909; for 
although the author calls it a novel, it is rather a bio- 
graphical account of the struggles of a poor peasant boy 
from his early childhood to his forty-fifth year, when, as 
a successful Hamburg merchant, he takes ship for China — 
the narrative closing abruptly with the hero going down 
the Elbe, and the reader involuntarily looking for a sequel. 
What followed, however, in 1912 — the author's latest book 
— was not a continuation of Klaus Hinrich Baas, but a 
story of the sea. The Wreck of the Anna Hollmann. This, 
too, is biographical in character, sketching the career of a 
Blankenese sailor, from the forecastle to the captain's 
bridge, and ending with his pathetic failure to rekindle the 
djdng embers of a youthful love affair. But one of the 
most significant features, of the book is Frenssen 's arraign- 
ment of certain Hamburg shipowners for their traffic in 
slaves, their cruelty to sailors, and their unscrupulous greed 
of wealth. 

A fair estimate of Frenssen 's work as a whole, which is 
all that can be attempted here, is out of the question if we 
allow our judgment to be unduly influenced by the excessive 
laudation or the excessive detraction which this author has 
received. From both, Frenssen has suffered enough to 
make his experience serve as a new illustration of the old 
truth that an author's popularity delays justice, since. 



252 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

according to the bias of the critic, it argues mediocrity as 
easily as superiority. And yet an analysis of obviously 
symptomatic popularity, such as Frenssen's, is not only a 
convenient but also a fair and profitable starting-point for 
criticism. In some way or other it is bound to reveal much 
concerning the state of contemporary literature, and of con- 
temporary criticism as well ; something, at least, in respect 
to the prevailing standards of the reading public; and not 
a little in regard to the aspirations and ideals of the nation 
at large. What, then, are some of the revelations in the 
case before us, and how far do they aid us in arriving at 
an adequate, if not a final, estimate of our author's work? , 

Critics with a bent toward the historical method and its 
inevitable tracing of influences have pointed out — if favor- 
ably impressed, and enthusiastically inclined — that Frens- 
sen's novels signalize the triumph of the new Hevmathunst, 
or Local Art, that is, art of indigenous or autochthonous 
growth, art of the soil or of the vicinage. They say that 
Frenssen has vindicated the claims of this latter-day mood 
or movement by putting into practice what most of its 
advocates had only preached — namely, the passing of the 
novelist from the crowded city to the open country; from 
the cosmopolitan salon or cafe to the provincial inn or the 
village green of the tribal community; from men and 
women under the stress of a complex civilization to primi- 
tive folk still swayed by the instincts and passions of simple 
nature. But — if unfavorably impressed, and inclined to 
be captious — this type of critic has not failed to detect in 
Frenssen's features a veritable kaleidoscope of resem- 
blances to literary ancestors, from nameless epic writers 
of a remote past down to novelists like Scheffel, Raabe, 
Keller, Sudermann, and the sensational bluestocking Mar- 
litt. The discoveries of both these factions within the 
historical camp shed more light on the present state of 
criticism than upon Frenssen's present or future place in 
German literature, though the view that he meets some of 
the expectations of the Heimatkunst comes nearer to the 



GUSTAV FRENSSEN 253 

truth, and accounts better for his popularity, than do the 
nugatory speculations concerning his literary pedigree. 

Again, critics and reviewers given to emphasizing the 
importance of style, diction, and structure, or of literary art 
in general, are likewise divided in their opinions — but less, 
it would seem, according to prejudice in favor of or against 
Frenssen than by reason of their own conflicting notions 
as to what this art really consists in. Says one of them: 
" Gustav Frenssen is not a mechanic in literature, he is 
a great artist ; ' ' and another : Amid the confused mass of 
Frenssen 's details, " the work of art goes by the board." 
But if a small number of learned critics can disagree to 
such an extent among themselves, is it likely that the pres- 
ence or absence of art in Frenssen 's novels has been an 
important element in determining his popularity with the 
immense number of ignorant, or at least unsophisticated, 
readers ? 

More light than from any other quarter is thrown on 
Frenssen 's popularity — again with interesting side-lights 
on certain critics — by the judgments that have been passed 
upon his writings from the ethical or religious point of 
view. For in the domain of ethics and religion we deal 
with the most vital concerns of life; and just here the 
writer whose theme puts him into touch with his readers 
is sure of being forgiven for more offenses in matters of 
form and treatment than may seem fair to the critic who 
is out of touch with the reader, and with the writer as well. 
Indeed, there has always existed a very human relation- 
ship, a kind of tacit entente cordiaZe, between erring authors 
and forgiving readers; and if the austere, academic critic 
would only rate this factor a trifle higher, he would also 
make less of such adventitious aids to popularity as the 
fancies of the day, the applause of the clique, and the hand- 
bills of the publisher, because these factors, far from being 
potent enough in themselves to inoculate the public with a 
sort of mental or psychic obsession, depend for their results 
on something much more elemental : they are like tares of 



254 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

the parasitic species which do not flourish except among 
grain that grows on fairly good soil. 

Let ns assume, therefore, that we are no longer listening 
to the professional critic or reviewer, but to an ordinary, 
intelligent reader, to whom the perusal of a novel is an 
experience telling in, and on, his life, rather than an occa- 
sion to exercise his judgment in the literary appraisal of 
a book. How is such a one likely to be impressed by the 
stories of Frenssen? 

To begin with questions of style, diction, and phrase- 
ology — Frenssen is not infrequently diffuse, especially 
when he lets his characters soliloquize. He is sometimes 
obscure on account of loose sentence-structure, or because 
of his ambiguous use of the pronoun "he," which again 
and again is meant to refer to the hero when, grammatic- 
ally, it can or must refer to some one else. Occasionally, 
mannerisms, such as injecting question and answer for the 
purpose of motivating what has just been told, stop the flow 
of the narrative and deflect the reader's attention; and so 
do certain curious anticipations of, or allusions to, what is 
yet to be told — a knack that seems to have been taken over 
from biography, but should have no place in novel-writing. 
Again, it is sometimes Avellnigh impossible to tell where the 
account of actual happenings ends and that of visions or 
imaginings incident thereto begins, so that the reader does 
not know whether he is still in the real world or has already 
passed into the realm of dreams. A striking instance of 
this blending or overlapping is the shipwreck scene in The 
Wreck of the Anna Hollmann. It must also be admitted 
that some of the author's stories are overloaded with 
episodes more or less irrelevant, and more or less awk- 
wardly fitted in. But in spite of all these faults, Frenssen 
is never dull or tedious, unless he be so to readers who will 
have none but the telegrammic style of the ultra-naturalistic 
school. And may it not be, therefore, that just by com- 
parison with the nervous conciseness of this school, his 
leisurely, broad, and epic handling of matters has found 




GUSTAV PRENSSEN 



GUSTAV FEENSSEN 255 

favor again among the many and, where it is overdone, has 
been passed by or pardoned? 

There is another fault observable in Frenssen's style, or 
rather in his tone, one that grows out of his intensely per- 
sonal attitude toward his readers as well as toward his 
characters; it is his tendency to preach. This, too, dis- 
tinguishes him from the class of writers just referred to, 
and yet not so fundamentally as it would seem at first 
glance ; for only too often do their own supposedly imper- 
sonal and impressionistic stories contain a very personal 
homily between the lines, and only too easily can the appro- 
priate text be supplied by any one that knows the ABC 
of novelistie art. The real difference is rather, that Frens- 
sen announces his text by chapter and verse, so to speak, 
and thereby probably draws larger audiences from among 
all those who are not so much averse to preaching as they 
are tired of perfunctory preachers within the church, and 
suspicious of disguised ones without. Provided, then, that 
a novelist does his preaching aboveboard and on a live issue 
of the day, or on an eternal issue, he may at times become 
rhetorical, even sophomoric, and still not offend so many 
hearers by his frank fervor as some other exhorter by his 
feigned indifference. It may well be doubted, however, 
whether this homiletic feature of Frenssen's stories would 
have been made so prominent, had not critic and reviewer 
known that he was once a preacher by profession. 

So much for the reader's impression of Frenssen's suc- 
cess, or the lack of it, in matters pertaining mainly to the 
use of his tools. What albout the materials on which he 
uses these tools; the setting or framework of his stories, 
their characters, plots, and problems? 

As far as time is concerned, Frenssen's stories are set 
within our actual and, may we not say, exacting present, 
but not without some glimpses backward into an idealized, 
inspiring past and, occasionally also, forward into an allur- 
ing future. Their palpableness and reality thus exceed 
their ideality — a feature which cannot but strengthen their 



2S6 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

appeal to the living generation of Germans whose grip upon 
the world that is, and the world as it is, or should be, grows 
firmer from day to day. 

A corresponding advantage accrues to Frenssen's stories 
from their local framework. Generally speaking, the scene 
of action is that portion of the German empire which, ever 
since its restoration, has encouraged and realized some of 
the people's fondest hopes for a larger life, for a closer 
touch with the rest of the modem world, and for a freer 
play of its reserved and expansive power. It is a region 
where even the peasant is stirred to send his thoughts 
beyond the visible horizon when his low-roofed hut is 
shaken by the west wind coming from the ocean, or when 
the screaming sea gull follows his plow in the freshly drawn 
furrow. And more, it is a region whose people have just 
now a special claim upon the patriot 's regard, for not only 
are they descended from former pioneers of German civil- 
ization, but they also retain most of the qualities that will 
insure success in such service again, more particularly old 
Saxon hardihood, aggressiveness, and shrewdness. 

Now of these and other advantages inherent in the natu- 
ral setting of his stories, Frenssen has made capital use. 
And it is out of such elements that his insight into human 
nature, his love of home and country, and his optimism, 
aided by genuine poetic feeling and by literary enthusiasm, 
rather than by literary subtleness, have enabled him to 
create a general atmosphere which it is both pleasant and 
wholesome to breathe. 

In respect to his characters, Frenssen is likewise fortu- 
nate. Their most prominent traits are, on the whole, sim- 
ple and few; minor traits and peculiarities provide for 
differentiation and variety; and the author's success in 
drawing them is almost guaranteed by his thorough famil- 
iarity with high and low. There are great brutes among 
them, but the reader finds many more to love, admire, pity, 
or laugh at, than to detest or mourn as utterly lost, since 
the good pastor will go far to save even the black sheep of 
his flock. And here again we have a significant feature of 



GUSTAV FEENSSEN 257 

Frenssen's stories — let us call it their humane, or voli- 
tional, undercurrent — which, in so far as it sets them off 
against the unrelenting modem novel of fate, may have 
contributed much toward their popularity. For it is evi- 
dent that conservatives still doubt whether even the evolu- 
tionary novelist has followed the channel of fatalism far 
enough to be absolutely sure that it has not a by-pass some- 
where. It is true, however, that Frenssen, though he shows 
considerable skill in delineating his characters by their 
actions and by what he tells the reader about them, is far 
less successful in marking or stamping them by their own 
talk, which, as a rule, lacks individuality of expression, and 
where it does not lack this, is apt to be either too bookish, 
or too facetious, or too jejuii©. 

Still less skilful is Frenssen in the invention of plots and 
situations that will bear a critical examination as to their 
probability. His weakness in this respect must be admitted 
by every unprejudiced reader. And yet, considering the 
fact that his most popular books contain some of the least 
probable plots and situations, one is again forced to the con- 
clusion that this and other easily defined faults of Frenssen 
are fully offset by less easily defined, because more general, 
merits, chiefly by the seriousness and candor with which he 
handles the deeper questions of life, and, above all, by his 
intuitive grasp of the people's attitude toward such ques- 
tions. And writing, as he does, mainly from the people's 
point of view and within their comprehension, it is also 
more or less futile to criticise him, or to account for his 
popularity, from other points of view. 

We cannot enter iuto the problems and questions which 
Frenssen deals with or touches upon, nor can we say much 
about the manner in which he does it; but in justice to those 
among Frenssen's critics who are as serious and candid 
as he, and respect the public no less, it is necessary to 
advert to a certain grave charge against him which, be it 
wholly fair or not, shows that, in one point at least, he has 
tried the patience of his friends to the utmost. 

Vol. X VII — 17 



258 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Let us first, however, realize fully that on almost all 
questions which, can be said to have any bearing upon 
public welfare, Frenssen takes independent and high moral 
ground. His attitude toward nation and state is one of 
ardent patriotism, without being in the least chauvinistic; 
in fact, he does not hesitate to defend the peace movement 
against the jingoes who dare to quote so formidable an 
authority as Moltke on their side. In social matters, his 
sympathies, though not socialistic in a narrow partisan 
sense, are with the lower classes in every earnest and 
rational endeavor to better their lot. The beneficent changes 
wrought in whole communities by the Good Templars are 
acknowledged with unstinted praise, and the cry of the dis- 
inherited for land to live and work upon is heard repeatedly 
in his books, even if the Bodenreform or Single Tax move- 
ment, and kindred questions are not discussed as such. 
Frenssen 's respect for learning and his admiration for the 
achievements of science are, like his love of art, great 
indeed ; nevertheless, they are bounded by his philosophic 
and moral insight, which tells him that man cannot live by 
science and art alone. His criticism of the church as an 
institution is severe, and deservedly so. His religious 
views are such as a liberal public is fast absorbing through 
every pore, but a conservative consistory cannot square 
with its dogma and, therefore, cannot tolerate in the pulpit. 
His specifically ethical teachings are based on brotherly 
love and faith in God, as best exemplified in the life of Jesus 
when stripped of its miraculous glitter and unveiled in all 
its human, and hence truly divine, glory. 

In view of all this, it is regrettable, to say the least, 
that Frenssen should have dealt differently, that is, incon- 
sistently, with the one subject which, in some form or other, 
is regarded as part and parcel of all novel- writing — love 
between man and woman. An imperative demand which 
modem readers make upon the novel-writer — for reasons 
good, bad, and indifferent — is, that he shall handle the 
purely sexual aspect of this theme without gloves. Frens- 
sen has done this ; indeed he could not have done otherwise 



GUSTAV FEENSSEN 259 

and have given a true picture of peasant life in Ditmarsclien 
or elsewhere. He has done it, moreover, without too fre- 
quently, or unnecessarily, shocking the reader's sense of 
decency, and always without gloating over the mortifica- 
tion produced by the shock, which cannot be said of every 
writer. But — and this is the charge against Prenssen — 
he has twice come close to traducing the reader's moral 
sense by appearing as an abetter of free love. For the first 
offense, in the thirteenth chapter of Holy Land, he was 
sharply and justly criticised by his friend Priedrich 
Paulsen, but this did not keep him from offending again, 
in the nineteenth chapter of Klaus Einrich Baas, thus 
insisting, as it were, on a fatuous and ominous concession 
to a class of writers whose names should not be mentioned 
with his own. What Paxdsen said of the objectionable 
episode in Holy Land applies with equal force to the 
one in Klaus Hinrich Baas; both should, and easily 
might, have been omitted as matter utterly foreign and 
extrinsic to the context, and their excision would even now 
be an improvement from every point of view. Their inser- 
tion or retention, however, is to be condenmed, chiefly, on 
moral grounds, for a writer's privilege of introducing in 
his stories whatever evil is known to exist in actual life 
involves the duty of bringing the evil-doer face to face with, 
at least, the most immediate and most obvious consequences 
of his deed. But Frenssen has laid himself oi>en to the 
suspicion of having evaded this duty. In both novels he 
lets the tempted yield to their sexual passions, and then, 
instead of showing that they view the act in its relation to 
the rights of their fellows — as would have been consistent 
with their previous conduct — he makes them blink the 
real question in a series of specious reflections which are 
unworthy of himself, of his readers, and also of his char- 
acters as representatives of a genuine, though not over- 
fastidious or over-conventional, folk. 

The reason why such lapses give pause to the thoughtful 
reader is not that he becomes concerned about Frenssen's 
popularity, which, in so far as it was a mere vogue, has 



260 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

already begun to decline, but rather that, when all is said 
and done, the reader still cares to see Frenssen's good name 
and influence outlast all popular acclaim. The author's 
good name, however, has been that of a man who, primarily 
and avowedly, started out on a mission to his countrymen, 
not merely to entertain them; and his influence has been 
strong enough to make people listen to his message even 
after they found it to be a very old and familiar one, 
namely, the assurance that Christianity is in perfect har- 
mony with the truest and ibest instincts of the German 
national character. If Frenssen, therefore, finds his inter- 
pretation of the message watched with something like jeal- 
ousy on the part of the public, and scrutinized much more 
closely than the- mere form in which he delivers it, he has 
not the least ground of complaint ; for submission to such 
watchfulness and scrutiny is but the fair price that any 
mentor should be prepared to pay for the privilege of being 
listened to, and for the opportunity of shaping the collective 
social conscience of a nation no longer under the tutelage 
of priest or despot. 

In conclusion, a word or two may be added here concern- 
ing the choice of Frenssen's Life of Jesus as fitly repre- 
senting his writings in general. It is not for our author's 
liberal religious views that this chapter of Holy Land has 
been selected, nor for his chiaroscuro portrait of the his- 
torical Jesus, considered merely as portrait; but rather 
because no other selection coming within the compass of 
this series exhibits so fully the essential characteristics of 
Frenssen's style, insight, devotion, and enthusiasm; and 
also because nowhere else can the reader feel so deeply the 
strong undercurrent of seriousness which now and then 
rises to the surface of even the lightest kind of German 
literature and, for a while at least, swallows up all the 
driftwood and wreckage. If read with these considerations 
in mind. The Life of Jesus cannot but aid in revealing the 
secret of Frenssen's successful appeal to national longings 
and instincts, which he rightly divined to be but dormant, 
while other writers thought them to be dead. 



GUSTAV FRENSSEN 




THE LIFE OF JESUS* (1906) 

TRANSLATED BY MARY AGNES HAMILTON 

I ANKIND has risen painfully out of the dark- 
ness of night. Its rise has taken many hun- 
dred thousand years. For hundreds of 
thousands of years men lived like foxes in 
a land without trees or forests. Couching 
fearfully in caves in wakeful slumber, in cunning ambush 
or in wild attack, their existence was that of the animals, 
and they had no consciousness of any difference between 
them. Gradually in the course of thousands of centuries 
their peculiar qualities, and especially the shape of their 
hands, raised men above the other animals. Gradually, 
with many doubts, this recognition came first to one and 
then another, the most intelligent and bravest of the race. 
It took thousands of centuries before it was recognized 
by all that there is a difference between men and animals. 
And man is the master. But the darkness and confusion 
of the souls of animals endured for long ages in their souls, 
their terrors were the terrors of animals; they feared the 
wind, the reflections of water, the darkness of the wood, 
thunder and lightning. Everything around them seemed 
possessed by unknown spirits; they had no knowledge of 
good and evil ; the differentiation of being afraid from not 
being afraid, of strength from weakness, of victory from 
defeat, exhausted their categories. 

Wandering in hordes and tribes from the centre of Asia, 
moving and propagating themselves like sparrows, grow- 

* From Holi/ Lwnd. Permission of Dana Estes & Co., Boston. 

[261] 



262 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

ing continually, one horde constantly displadng another, 
they gradually spread over the whole face of the earth, and 
thus oame to different lands and different climates. Some 
tribes came beneath the exhausting heat of the burning 
sun; others to desolate regions; others to ice-bound chiU, 
where they lost their vitality, succumbed, or were frozen 
out of existence. Many of these tribes and peoples per- 
ished centuries before our epoch; others are gradually 
being exterminated in our own times in Australia, America, 
and Africa ; others, more fortunate, oame to regions where 
strength and progress were forced upon them by the pres- 
sure of vigorous neighbors, by sun and wind and sea, by 
barley and wine. They raised their heads higher and 
higher, the eyes grew brighter, their foreheads more lofty. 
Slowly and painfully their fear of Nature died away. The 
bravest among them went boldly into the darkness; it is 
the bravest child of a company of terrified children alone 
in the house that ventures into the dark comer. For long 
they continued in fear of ghosts and tried to placate them 
by prayers and offerings; very gradually, with the growth 
of man's power over Nature, these spirits lost their terrors. 
Evil spirits shrank back, and their powers dwindled, with 
the slow and gradual growth of a faint belief in good 
spirits. There arose a dim, uncertain apprehension that 
right was not with the strong, but with the good. The 
inner light of conscience burned up, and as its rays pene- 
trated the mist the path of mankind was clearer; they had 
a guide, they could not wholly lose their way, they might 
come further than our dreams may know. 

But it was not the whole people, not the masses, that 
made a universal step in advance ; the light only shone in 
individuals. In a smooth sea the waves come gently swell- 
ing on, gray-blue, one after another, far out to sea, till lo, 
all of a sudden one wave rises higher than the others, leaps 
up, and comes on splendid in its silver crown until it falls 
over its own feet. These men, the solitary crowned among 
mankind, rise like that wave and fall even so, over their 
own feet. 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 263 

On the morning of the race the steps forward were slow 
and tentative — we do not know the earliest names. The 
art of writing was still unloiown, and it is only after its 
discovery that we are acquainted with the names of those 
holy heroes. Persia produced Zarathustra; China Con- 
fucius ; India Buddha ; Palestine Moses, Elias, Isaiah, Jere- 
miah; Greece ^schylus and Plato. All these men stood 
alone among their people, and had to suffer for having 
advanced beyond their age. Even in them there still was 
much that was hard and dark, wild and almost childishly 
confused, and yet in their hours of illumination they rose 
to a high and gracious insight which the human spirit can 
never outgrow. " I came not to hate but to love." " If I 
have thee, God, earth and heaven to me are naught." 

After the passing of these men there came a time of 
cahn. The universe rises and falls in waves ; the exhausted 
vital force produced no more heroes. Each nation stood 
in rigid silence, holding its inheritance in its closed hand, 
and while mediocrity grew the grip closed fast so that the 
inheritance, closed in, began to putrefy. This inert silence 
lasted for centuries; on the ocean of national life no wind 
blew, no waves rose ; putrefaction seemed likely to spread 
all over human life. 

Then the sword descended on the peoples living round 
the central sea. The Eomans, a people vexed by no subtle- 
ties, troubled by no search for truth, no brooding over 
problems, but devoted to the practical side of life, the calcu- 
lation of material .advantages, subdued all other nations 
to their sway ; everywhere they rent and disturbed, tearing 
asunder the old nations of sensitive dreamers, Egyptians, 
Hebrews, Greeks, Persians, Germans. 

And in this wild confusion of dismembered nations there 
arose a horrible conflict of opinion. There was a seething 
turmoil of beliefs like the turbulent confluence of seven 
waters in the stream ; men went and asked the philosophers 
for their opinion ; others abandoned themselves to the unre- 
strained transports of the Greek mystics, crying, " Nature! 



264 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Nature! man, thou art no more! " to kneel next day 
before the image of an Egyptian goddess. Some raised 
their eyes in worship to the marble statue of a Boman 
Emperor, seeking in vain for the holiness of human good- 
ness in those harsh imperial traits ; the men who went on 
Friday to hear from the German soldiery how they wor- 
shipped Baldur and Freya under the beech-trees of their 
native land, stood on Saturday with covered heads in the 
Jewish Synagogue, hearing the teacher read from the 
ancient book, " Keep my commandments. So sliall it be 
well with thee. ' ' 

This confusion raged all round the Mediterranean; from 
the streets of Gibraltar to Persia there was nothing but 
questioning and murmuring, ' ' "What is the meaning of 
human life 1 What is the meaning of God ? What is truth? 
Do you know what makes a human heart holy and joyous? " 
Thus at a time of long drought country folk stand in 
groups talking and arguing together. " The rain must 
come . . . look at that cloud! . . . no, it is nothiag;" 
then suddenly in the night, when their thoughts are far 
away, a rustling begins to sound among the tree tops ia 
front of their windows. Thus men waited and talked and 
strained their eyes. Man cannot help searching for the 
meaning of life, searching for happiness. 

At last Nature's time of rest came to an end. Its rising 
and falling is like the rising and falling of the waves, and 
now once more a ihan arose, a hero in the mold of the holy 
heroes of old, and from the east the rustling sound spread 
over the withered nations, till it became a mighty roar. 

In one comer of the huge, motley Empire there lay a 
country very much like Schleswig-Holstein, of the same 
size and narrow length and the same extended coastline; 
in the north the silent expanse of heather-covered lulls, 
in the south a great and brilliant town just as in our coun- 
try. As in our country, also, there dwelt there in the vil- 
lages a population of farmers, a mixed race sprung from 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 265 

two excellent stocks. It was an unhappy people, suffering 
under the cruel and inefiScient govenunent of a corrupt 
princeling in the north, and an imperial legate in the south. 
Foreign capital devoured the land as a wolf the sheep; 
the people were drained dry with direct and indirect taxa- 
tion, customs dues, and monopolies ; officials stole and pecu- 
lated in all directions ; all the money, and money is power, 
was taken out of the country. 

Then there was the Church, with its extravagant claims. 
In the great capital in the south a huge temple arose, with 
vast halls and courts, lofty, ornate consistories, thousands 
of priests, high and low, and many teachers attached to it, 
who spread its tenets through the land; all to be main- 
tained at the popular expense. 

The crowning misfortune was that the people was divided 
against itself; there was a seething confusion in politics 
and in religion. One party was composed of the quiet 
people, dwelling scattered all over the country, especially 
in the villages and on the moors. They were men occupied 
in laborious manual labor, which leaves the mind free to 
wander off into strange dreams and brooding abstractions ; 
men occupied in toil for daily bread that left the soul free 
to raise itself to God. The Church was too cold, stiff, and 
respectable for them; they sought out some eternal truth 
to comfort them for themselves, burying themselves after 
the day's work was done in ancient records and prayer- 
books, and reading there in joyful amazement how, in times 
of like necessity, centuries ago, their parents had not lost 
courage, but had held fast to the belief that the eternal 
did not cherish the proud and rich, but rather the lowly 
and humble, and to them would one day send a " Saviour." 
Only the few rose to such heights of faith; the piety of the 
majority was a dull, uncomprehending acceptance. 

The second party was the Liberals, and they fell into two 
well-defined camps. There was a small, highly respectable 
Liberal party in the capital composed of rich men who, 
superficially educated, enjoyed the present and were hand 



266 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

and glove with Church and State, oaring little for abstract 
principles; the other was composed of men of an inferior 
social grade, minor officials of the Empire in the customs 
and police departments, and the more frivolous, adventur- 
ous sections of the working classes, the energetic men of 
aspiring disposition. 

The third party was the Nationalists, by far the most 
powerful, the party of narrow, orthodox patriotism. Their 
programme was ' ' Maintenance of national religion and 
customs in opposition to everything foreign." "Pray 
seven times a day, wash seven times a day, give alms seven 
times; go to church daily; alter nothing, improve nothing; 
this is the way to please the Almighty. To reward us He 
will send us a hero, a ' Saviour,' who will free us from the 
accursed foreign beliefs." Clad in its rotten armor this 
mighty party, full of petty and malign suspiciousness, 
stood guard over what it considered " purity " and " holi- 
ness," inspected all the prayer meetings and schools in the 
country, ruling the people with tyrannical might. The 
Liberals resisted, saying, "Live and let live; away with 
dead formulae and commandments;" and the quiet country 
folk resisted, saying, * ' You are too proud, too narrow, too 
rigid for us; we seek God after our own fashion, reading 
in our old, sacred books, and pondering in the night-time. 
We have no time to spend all day in praying and washing 
and going to church; we have our bread to earn." The 
Nationalists invented a nickname to express their contempt 
for these unpatriotic people, a biting gibe that hit both 
parties: " They are publicans and sinners." 

Over and above these three great parties there were 
swarms of homeless beggars, tramps, and sick folk. There 
were no physicians, no asylums, no hospitals, no social 
sympathy of any kind. All the crime, misery, and vaga- 
bondage of the country skulked up and down the high roads 
or the village lanes, in front of the very doors of the rich. 
The Nationalists cast out alms as the creed bade them, and 
bred more beggars. 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 267 

Such was the condition of this nation by the sea, a people 
miserable and torn by opposing, factions, tyrannized over 
by a harsh and grasping G-ovemment whose faith was not 
theirs. 

Forty years later the great Nationalist party, sxumnon- 
ing together its forces for a mighty outbreak, roused the 
whole people to an ill-fated insurrection which ended in 
bloody annihilation. The people survived, indeed, but, as 
their hero said, like a flock standing in the night without 
a shepherd, round which the mid beasts are already sharp- 
ening their teeth as they cower in the darkness. Eestless, 
it cried aloud, " Help must come . . . what is coming? 
It is the end of the world! Is it the hero who has been 
promised us? Laugh! Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for 
tomorrow we die. . . . Count up your resources. . . . 
Will he come from Heaven? Will he come from the people ? 
. . . Listen! do you hear a rustling in the trees? God, 
our Father, Eternal Power! help. . . . My soul thirsts 
for Thee, my body faints for Thee in the scorched and 
parching land." 

In the north, on the moors between lake and sea, there 
dwelt a man and his wife, Joseph the son of Jacob, and 
Mjyy, both of ancient and noble though mixed descent. 
The man seems either to have died rather young or married 
somewhat late in life. His wife lived to see her children 
grow up. This brought her no distinction, for it is a 
remarkable fact that this mother of a hero seems to have 
had no comprehension of the inward greatness of her son. 

The couple had five children, who grew up in the fair 
village, seeing and learning all that village life among an 
intelligent and vigorous race can afford. The first child 
of the marriage, Jesus by name, had a pair of deep, clear 
eyes, which saw and understood all the peaceful pictures 
presented to them, a tender and sympathetic soul whose 
inner light, burning clearer as his childhood advanced, 
translated what it saw into something of sweet and precious 
significance. 



268 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The child went out with the laborer to plough; saw Ms 
mother's sadness when she "Was expecting her youngest 
child, and her sudden joy when she held the new-born babe 
in her arms. With his companions he went up into the 
hills when the first flowers appeared in the fields; they 
stood with the flowers they had picked in their hands, gaz- 
ing far across the land to the blue sea in the west. . . . 
In the evening he told his mother that the neighbor's son 
had left home in anger and gone out into strange lands, 
trouble following in his wanton footsteps. He saw the 
cornfield on the hillside as it lay, white, ready for harvest- 
ing; he stood at the door with the other children to watch 
the wedding of a village maid. In the morning he told his 
mother how the bridesmaids had gone through the village 
at night with blazing candles in their hands. ... He 
helped to bind the sheaves, and the thistles that were bound 
up in them pricked his hands; in the evening of the same 
day, as he returned home with his father, they heard in the 
street that the richest farmer in the village had died, and 
the people declared that he and his brothers were bad men, 
and misers to boot. ... He saw the shepherd coming 
through the village with his flodis, and as the sheep went 
slowly on the shepherd stopped to relate how he spent all 
night in searching for a sheep, and found it in the morning, 
and his weather-beaten face beamed with joy. . . . Late 
in the evening of the same day a neighbor ran in to tell 
them that the farmer's wanton son, who three years ago 
had left his father's house and the village with proud 
words and headstrong anger, had returned home. He had 
stood for hours in the street in the darkness, looking at 
the lights in his father's house, dad in rags. " In such 
rags! And naw, what do you think . . . just listen!" 
And they heard the sound of singing and jubilation in the 
village, so great was the parents' joy at his recovery. The 
child got up and went out to the door to listen to the singing. 

The town child? what does the town child know of the 
world, of Nature, of human life? Only a wretched, ugly 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 269 

little corner. The village child sees in miniature the whole 
world and all that in it is. 

He was a shy, thoughtful child; he stood aside and looked 
on at life with quiet, wondering eyes. He played with the 
other children, but it often happened that almost involun- 
tarily he would step aside from the gay throng as if some 
invisible voice had said earnestly to him, " Stand aside a 
little." 

The child's eyes became quieter and quieter; veil after 
veil sank down over them; but in his soul there was no 
darkness; the more the outer world faded away there 
burned up in his soul a still, bright light that filled it won- 
drously with its glowing purity and gracious warmth. 
Happy, sad, the childish soul stood in the holy hall, before 
the lofty doors that soon would open, and " now — now — 
soon I shall see the radiance of Heaven. ' ' Then the chil- 
dren came and waked him, saying to one another, ' ' Jesus 
is dreaming again; look, he is lost in dreams." He came 
back to the others, his eyes still misty with the sweet re- 
membrance, his face bearing the traces of a gentle sadness. 

Every Sabbath as boy and youth he stood among the 
other villagers in the village school and meeting-room, to 
listen to an earnest teacher, who read with slow solemnity 
from the old chronicles and psalms; a Nationalist and 
clerical, he read out God's many commandments with brows 
sternly knit, " Thou shalt . . . Thou shalt ... If 
thou dost so-and-so, thou shalt please God. ..." 

The boy listened in shy bewilderment. . . . Then the 
teacher laid aside the book and took up another, and the 
voice of the gloomy, serious man warmed and his eyes 
burned as he read of the heroes who had arisen of old 
among the people as the birds rise out of the heather; how 
they brooded alone, searching for an answer to the weary 
riddle, of human life, the riddle of birth and death, God 
and conscience, guilt and justice, seeking a way by which 
a tender human soul might win its way through life with- 
out sorrow or punishment. Some of these brooding heroes 



270 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

did force a way througli night aad terror, but not by their 
own unaided strength. Children run fearfully through the 
darkness, terrified, with such beating hearts, till at last they 
find themselves in their mother's outstretched arms, where 
for a while they sob stormily, terrified by their own daring, 
till, their terror subsiding, they laugh again. Like them, 
these heroes rushed in blind and eager confidence on their 
adventurous search for truth and faith to the feet of the 
Eternal Eeality, and there cried, ' ' Eternal Reality, we 
believe that Thou art goodness." From this glorious 
citadel they speak to their people with a glowing courage 
shining in their eyes, tell them of the misery of godlessness, 
of the great goodness of God, of the glorious hope of won- 
drous help from God, and of the Saviour who was to come 
to purify and bless the laud. 

As the boy listened to these stories of the holy heroes 
his pure young heart swelled with a secret and. lofty joy. 
" Thou shalt ..." was forgotten; fear was fled; far 
into the night he beheld in dreams the brave and holy 
heroes, with their passionate belief in the goodness of God, 
their passionate love for their unhappy people, and the 
Saviour to come, the bravest and purest of them aU: till 
he fell asleep, his cheeks glowing with happiness. 

There were in the village a number of upright, unlettered 
families who belonged to the quiet country party, and 
probably his parents were among them. His tender spirit 
drank in the ancient beliefs, the ancient dreams that he 
heard Ms parents and their neighbors discussing. They 
spoke of God, who dwelt above in the blue realms of Heaven 
surrounded by good angels; of the devil, banished to the 
remotest comer behind the heavy gray clouds on the 
northern verge of the sky, with his company of bad angels. 
Mortal destiny depends on the fortune of the war raging 
day and night between God and His satellites and the devil 
and his; all sickness and madness comes from the evil 
spirits; how they plague the sick people in the village! 
Seven spirits or angels sent by the devil lodge within the 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 271 

maniac living at the far end of the village with his parents ; 
it is they who make him utter the shrieks that resound 
through the streets. A time will come when all this shall 
be changed; some day there will be an end of all sorrow 
and trouble caused by strangers and by evil spirits. The 
Saviour will come — the greatest of all the holy heroes. 
Some say he is to be an angel and fall down from Heaven ; 
others he is to be a man descended from some ancient, 
impoverished royal house. With the help of God he will 
set up the rule of God upon earth all over the land, from 
the moor villages of the north to the capital in the south. 
Then the people will be free and holy and happy. 

Thus the boy heard all the beliefs held by the Church 
and among the people in this time of trouble and disquiet. 
And he criticised them all, yet, till the day of his death, 
he never despised or cast away a single belief or super- 
stition. Like his people and his times, he lived in a world 
of wonders. For him, too, angels descended from Heaven 
all his life long. He saw the devil fall like a flash of light- 
ning; he believed' that Satanic emissaries possessed the 
insane and the diseased. He believed that with the help 
of God or of the devil, man could perform superhuman 
actions ; the dead could rise from the earth and walk. 

But there was a trait of greatness in this growing son 
of man, .a gift that marked him out, and this it was. He 
comprehended in the music of his nature all the notes 
sounded by the words of people and by the ancient books, 
but one supreme note rose in him, sounding clearer, 
stronger year by year, sounding pure and strong and pene- 
trating above all other notes, dominating and subduing all 
other notes — the note that had ceased to sound among his 
people in his time, the note that had not yet been struck 
by other nations, the note which the holy heroes of old had 
comprehended and to which they had responded, " Let me 
rejoice in Thy grace that Thou hast seen my tribulation 
and hast troubled Thyself for the need of my soul." 



272 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

His real heroism lay in this, that in a time of dull acqui- 
escence, of sordid ideals, and confused aims, he had held 
up a high and lofty belief in the goodness of God, and died 
for this belief in the freshness of his youth. . . . 

As yet, however, he is only a boy, a youth, imcertain of 
himself, cherishing in wondering doubt and bewilderment 
his profound and marvelous thoughts. 

Then came early youth. He learned a craft in the village. 
He became a carpenter and left the village. Wandering 
through the valley, down the dry river-bed, he saw the 
ruins of the house which had been torn up by the last 
earthquake ; then, reaching the sea-beach, he saw the pearl- 
fishers' boats dancing on the surge, while the merchant 
stood on the bank with his purse to see what they had 
caught. He passed through the poverty-stricken moorland 
villages to the inland lake ; standing before the castle that 
the evil princeling had built, he heard the complaints of 
the unhappy people of his cruelty and of his ruling vice ; 
he saw the countless numbers of the homeless poor, the sick 
and the insane lying in the streets, crowds of soldiers and 
officials railing against them at the street comers. He took 
a three days' journey with some of the villagers down to 
the huge temple in the capital. There, in the midst of the 
hungry misery of the people, he saw respectable Liberals, 
princes of the Church, going in their silken raiment to a 
rich banquet given by the foreign governor. At the street 
corners stood the Nationalists in grave mourning garments. 
The people followed blindly, filling the synagogues, gabbling 
the prayers, giving the rich priests their poor savings. 

On their way home the peasants discussed whether the 
Nationalists were right in saying that the stipulated gifts 
must be made to the priests, even though one's own aged 
parents perished of starvation, for God and His coromand- 
ments come before filial love ; whether it were really G^d's 
will that one should not move a finger on the Sabbath, even 
to help man or beast in trouble. Could God be so petty and 
so jealous? They pondered deeply over this as they went 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 273 

their way, till suddenly one of the quietists struck up an 
old song in a quivering voice, ' ' To Thee I raise my eyes, 
Thou throned in Heaven; behold, as the eyes of a servant 
are directed to the hand of the Master, our eyes look up 
to God, till such time as He has mercy upon us. " 

He returned to the village in silence. In the home of 
his parents he dwelt quietly, husy with his craft, building 
and repairing houses in the village. His eager eyes re- 
garded his craft and all that Nature and life presented to 
him, but they did not stay, caught like fish in a net, but, 
penetrating like the rays of the sun through all appear- 
ances, reached their inner cause, the secret and eternal 
power behind them. He found joy in the waving field of 
wheat, in the lily blossoming on the pond, in the young 
girl standing at the door ; but he left them, with no thought 
of touching or gathering them. All phenomena were to 
him merely a symbol of the eternal power that lay behind 
them, dark and obscure. "Thou art all goodness and 
love. If only all men could share my belief, my happiness ! 
Eternal Power, what am I? what are my thoughts? Send 
soon the holy Saviour. Great is the need of my people. ' ' 

The people in the village said, " He is a strange man, 
full of profound wisdom, of holy earnestness, as innocent 
as a babe at the breast." They saw and knew no more. 
They did not guess that behind those pure and limpid eyes 
lay a soul that grew every day in depth and insight. He 
himself knew it not. He was a poor, restless son of man, 
now thrilling with joy, again with unspeakable fears, 
shaken by godlike thoughts, a genius in being. 

Time passed on . . .he reached his thirtieth year. 
People in the village would ask his advice in difficult mat- 
ters, but he only cast his eyes down, deep in thought; 
answering came hardly to him. A few wise, patient men 
in the village think and say, " What will become of him? 
Let him be ! only wait ; some day he will soar aloft like the 
eagle." Others shake their heads and say, " What is he? 
A queer creature, that's all." 

Vol. XVII— 18 



274 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

His hour is not yet come; soul and spirit are not yet 
clear. God is still forgiag and hammering. Of the old 
heroes it was said, " I make thee to be a pillar of iron and 
a wall of brass against the whole land, against its Gt)vem- 
ment, ag-ainst its Church, against the whole population"; 
for he must be hard, must indeed be of iron, who is to stand 
alone against the whole people. 

The whole land was oppressed and restless, a heavy bur- 
den lay upon their souls, they were bound down to poverty 
and madness. Leaden clouds stretched from the sea to the 
lake, from the heather hills of the north to the great town 
of the south. Once, twice, the flame sprang high in the 
woods or on the moors. Some eager, desperate spirit 
appeared. " I . . .1 am the Saviour ! Arise, my people, 
arise! " The Government stamped the fire out with fierce 
imprecations, then drew their breath hard. ' ' When wiU 
help come to the parching land? Now, or never. Go out, 
child, see whether the storm is rising. ' ' 

" There is nothing, father." 

Then the first peal of heavy thunder broke over the land. 

In the south, not far from the capital, a man arose, a man 
like one of the old, holy heroes sprung from the despairing 
people. He stood and spoke. What he spoke was half- 
despair, half-laughing gladness. 

"People! people! hear what I say. Have we reached 
the end of life and of every hope? Does our need reach 
up to our throats? Then — you know how the old books 
run, ' From an old decaying royal stem shall shoot out a 
young branch.' Come he must ... he comes! Look! 
He is quite near. He comes ! a man of wondrous powers, 
the power of God within him 1 the angels of God on his right 
hand and on his left. He will harry and slay the oppressors 
and carry terror among the people. The Nationalists, with 
their self-satisfied piety; the Liberals, smooth and silky, 
who sit in church and at the court ; all the lying hypocrites 
who live in luxury and care nothing for the wretchedness 



CHRIST WANDERING THROUGli THE LANDS 



From, the Painting by Eduard.von Gebhardt 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 275 

of the people, who lay heavy burdens on the people as if 
such were the conunandments of God, while they them- 
selves do not stir a finger; they load their country's land 
with debt, devour its houses, and pray all the time without 
ceasing; all these people are an abomination to the Lord 
and to His Messenger. He will destroy them all. And 
when He has done all this, when He has driven forth the 
enemy and slain those who ruin the people, then the others, 
the oppressed, the quiet people of the country, shall dwell 
in peace and happiness in a land purified and free, He their 
glorious King, they His free and gladsome people. . . . 
Where are ye, ye poor and pure in heart? How few ye 
are, my people! Hark! He comes! Purify your souls! 
Away with all evil from heart and Ufe! Hark! the steps 
of the Son of God!" 

So he spoke in broken words, spoke to a despairing 
people. So the alarums ring out before the break of day 
over the army lying in uneasy sleep on the battlefield oppo- 
site the foe. The whole people heard his voice. 

The Liberals laughed. " Live and let live! " The proud 
Church party stared. " What? the Saviour is to come as 
our enemy? What a fool the man is! " All the quiet, 
unhappy people in the laud leapt up. ' ' What a note is 
that! What does he say? Misery at an end? " and they 
went to him in crowds. And the clear note penetrated to 
the silent depths of that divinely quickened soul dwelling 
in the quiet northern village, to Jesus the carpenter. 
" What does he say? The piety which the Church teaches 
is false? God wants pure, holy men. . . . Yes, these 
are they whom He wants. ' ' 

At night in autumn a storm rises in the western sea, 
oomes over to land with a roar, expends its first headlong 
onset in vain against the high, thick beeches round the 
woodland pond. Foiled, it pauses for a moment, to dash 
with concentrated force against the stubborn resistance of 
the trees; as they crasb to the ground it throws itself upon 
the pool, lashing and torturing it. Such a storm now arose 



276 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

in the depths of his silent souL " What does he say? the 
long-promised Saviour is coming now? now? now the great 
wonder is to be? the people is tO' be free and happy! now? 
yes, now! Our need is at our throats. Yes, he is oomiag 
now. I will go and see the man." 

And so the quiet young master laid aside hammer and 
measure. As he went the Eternal Power glowed and 
worked within him. " The Saviour is coming. . . . "What 
does he look like? What will he be like? God and the 
spirit of goodwill work powerfully within him." 

When he reached his destination on the evening of the 
second day he found crowds gathered together from all 
directions, from west and east, from the great town in the 
south and the moors in the north. An ill treated^ confused, 
and despairing people, betrayed and cheated by King and 
Church. They looked up to the one strong man who spoke 
to them of the downfall of the King and of the rich and 
of the pious Church party, and foretold the time of bliss at 
hand for all who were free from sin. " The Saviour, the 
Messenger from God is at hand ; in one hand he holds death, 
in the other a happy life in a free land." Thousands came 
to him, and, kneeling down in the stream that flowed in its 
bed of white sand down into the valley, vowed, with his 
hands upon their heads, " Our souls shall be as pure as the 
water, as clean as the white sand, so that we may dwell 
in a pure and happy land under the holy hero, we who now 
are meek, lowly, and oppressed." 

This sight, this supreme moment, made a deep impression 
on the northern peasant; his soul, freed from the dangers 
which has beset it among the silent moors, of distraction 
by visionary dreaming or restless wandering from its true 
course, was roused at once to insight and to action. * ' What 
does he say? . . . Pure men are to live in a pure land? 
How can a man become pure? He does not know. No 
one knows. Do I know? ... Do I know? . . . The 
pure life? Yes. I can point the way . . . have I not 
borne that knowledge in my soul since I was a child ? Have 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 277 

I not always seen Thee, lioly and everlasting power, as 
Fatherly love? I have been Thy child since I could think 
at all; Thy chUd, loving, pure, beloved. In communion 
■mtla Thee aU sin is wiped away. The kingdom of Heaven 
is at hand. Happiness is at hand for my poor people. 
Yes, it is at hand . . . now it must come. Help, 
Father, that Thy Kingdom come! Bring all Thy people 
to Thy knees pure and happy as I am! Father, what am 
I to do ? where is the Saviour ? Father, who is he ? Father, 
show him to me. . . . Father, who is he? 

Overcome by the waves of thought and feeling that 
surged through his soul, he knelt down in the white sand 
among the others, seemin'g in that action utterly to abro- 
gate his will and to hand over his whole being in passionate 
self -surrender into the hands of the sacred and everlasting 
Power above him. * ' I am Thine, my will is Thine ; my 
Father, who art goodness and truth. . . . " and in a 
moment of wrapt and wholly blissful ecstasy he seemed to 
feel and to hear that the Eternal Power, his " Father in 
Heaven," accepted this passionate surrender of his pure 
will. " Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well 
pleased." 

He arose and stepped back. That night he stayed ia the 
district; in the new and rapturous illumination of joyous 
thoughts and sublime presentiments he understood clearly 
the vague misery, the singing joy of his childhood. " I am 
a prophet, a herald of eternal truth like the holy heroes 
of old ! A messenger from God. Happiness is coming to 
my poor people: the Kingdom of Heaven! it is at hand. 
I announce it, I His messenger! the last of His messengers, 
the Saviour! 

Next morning he set" out northward. For two, three 
hours he walked till his homeward way brought him into a 
bnely and desolate region. Here the lofty feelings that 
had surged up in him. sank, and as he wandered over the 
barren moor his heart became 'heavier and heavier at every 
step. At last he stood still, brooding. "When I reach 



278 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

home tomorrow evening, I, who have always been, so shy 
and silent, must stand up and say : ' Purify your hearts, 
purify your lives; the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' 
. . . They are all expecting a holy hero who shall free 
us with sword and word from the foreign yoke. ' Out with 
your swords! ' That I cannot do. God's voice has never 
said that to me. Or can I? I am the wisest in the land; 
I have power over men; shall I announce what will please 
them? Shall I alter a little what God says within me? 
What I have to say to them is too lofty, too sacred. . . . 
The quiet, yes ; but my mother ; my brothers ; all the rich 
men of the village! The Nationalists and the Prince! 
The first will be suspicious ; the second will threaten ; and 
the Prince will have me put in prison. . . . So I must 
alter it a little; I must alter it. I will clothe myseK in 
gorgeous raiment, miracles, and splendid deeds, and then 
say, * I am the Saviour ! Sword in hand ! ' and then the 
people will rally round me. . . . No, no, you spirits of 
evU . . . avaunt, messengers of Satan. ... I will listen 
to God alone." 

The day parsed and night descended ; he cowered at the 
edge of the cliff, a poor, lonely man, tortured by hideous 
doubt, a man in the bitterest extremity of need. 

He prays, and strength comes to him for a moment; 
but again his courage sinks ; he prays again, begging his 
" Father in Heaven " to give him strength and light. He 
begs, ' ' Show me the truth. TeU me, shall I help my people 
with Thy sword and Thy word, or with Thy word alone? " 
All night his soul sought for a way of escape like a caged 
wild beast that ramps restlessly up and down, glaring in 
vain at the bars through which he cannot pass. 

Later he told his friends, and they believed what had 
become a part of the popular faith that Satan, the ruler of 
the evil spirits, appearing from the darkest quarter of 
Heaven, stood by his side and said to him, "Add something 
of earth to the pure work of God." 

His fear of others, his vanity, all his sensual desires 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 279 

fought with a strong man's strength against that stronger 
part of him that was pure and holy. All day the struggle 
lasted. At times he turned to go northward, and then, 
shrinking back, he turned again on to the moor. Often he 
was in great danger of betraying his Father in Heaven 
and returning home the same quiet craftsman that he had 
left it, save that his soul was rent asunder and his inner 
life desolated by the reproachful voice of conscience. Often 
he came near to adding something of e.arth, " Out with your 
swords! I am the holy leader whom God has promised 
you." The whole future of humanity depended on the 
purity of soul, the courage, and the truth of a single man. 

But he was very brave. He was so stainless, so pure. 
He thought of the rapture of the momentary communion 
of his soul with Grod. In passionate prayer he clung to 
the knees of his Father in Heaven; and He helped him. 
Certainly the Eternal was by his side. Yet the work was 
his own; it is him we must thank. Jesus, the northern 
carpenter; it is He who helped mankind. At last he arose 
victorious. ' * I will do Thy work and Thine alone, without 
the sword, without any earthly help. I will believe and 
not doubt; Thy blessed kingdom is at hand, and I must 
raise it without the help of the sword. I leave it to Thee 
to show me in Thy own good time whether I am indeed the 
Saviour. Help me, O Father in Heaven." 

Then, he said, he was made strong. Angels from Heaven 
stood round him, and fear was gone from him. Drawing 
a long, deep breath, he went northward with no more doubt 
in his heart. His will was now at rest, desiring only to 
do the pure and gracious will of God. * ' I will do Thy will, 
announce the coming of Thy kingdom and Thy rule in my 
country, troubling myself not at all about other men." 
He went north. 

The report followed him, *' The Baptist has been put in 
prison by the duke; he is to die at the hangman's hand." 
But all fear was gone from him. He stands there pure 
and free, in his hands the purest task in the world, close 
to the Eternal Power, close to his " Father in Heaven." 



280 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

In two days he reached Ms native district. Avoiding 
his own village he made his first appearance as a preacher 
in a village that lay to the east of it. He rose without 
any doubt or any fear, his eyes shining with joy and the 
authority of the Eternal, which said to him, "Arise ! speak! 
Thou art My dear son. Speak ! It is My will that thou 
sayest what thou sayest and doest what thou doest." 

The eagle now began to fly. He arose, and for the first 
time went up to the desk and opened the ancient chronicle; 
and as they looked at him they saw this was no dry teacher, 
but a man whose deepest soul was stirred and possessed 
by the spirit of God. He read the place where it is written: 
" The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Because he anointed 
me to preach good tidings to the poor ; He hath sent me to 
proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight 
to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to pro- 
claim the acceptable year of the Lord." 

Laying the book down he drew a deep breath, and said, 
' ' The ancient scripture is being fulfilled now, now. Poor, 
oppressed people, the promised time of happiness is come; 
the kingdom of Heaven is beginning among us. Give your- 
selves to Him and be His children, and all the shadows that 
weigh on human life will disappear, all of them; evil con- 
science, sorrow, death itself. In the light of happiness 
human life will be as resplendent as the halls of God. Give 
yourselves to Him! be His children! The kingdom of 
Heaven is at hand, the blessed time of which the prophets 
spake is at hand. Listen, believe my words, and rejoice." 

So he spake, and the poor, the trembling, the oppressed, 
marveled and rejoiced. He went on his way from place 
to place, avoiding his native village, and his long years of 
silent, lonely pondering had taught him to understand the 
ground tones of human life. All day his heart ached with 
a passion of pity for the misery and need where all might 
have been sweetness, and found no rest for the anguish of 
his compassion. ' ' I must cleanse my people so that they 
may find that bliss in the nearness of God which has been 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 281 

mine since my chUdhood. " The whole day he was filled 
with the immovable courage that inspired the early heroes. 
" I will make it come to pass. I will conquer my brethren 
and make them approach God in the joyful spirit which is 
mine. The soul is made for goodness, its nature is divine ; 
it must succeed in casting forth Satan and his friends, A 
storm shall blow through the land and set the people free 
from evil; the good shall conquer and convince the evil; 
the eager shall carry the sluggish with them; the quiet 
overcome the cold-hearted pietists. God and His angels 
shall rule over the people ; under His protection they shall 
be pure and happy, freed from sin and sorrow, each man 
under his own roof tree." 

Such was his faith, his love, his hope : and he announced 
it in words like morning dew or the water of a deep and 
sparkling spring, to a people of quick understanding, deep 
piety, and ancient race, who looked back from the desperate 
misery of the present to the glory of the past and yearned 
for freedom and happiness. It was natural that he roused 
them. Excitement spread all through the northern dis- 
trict, his passage from village to village was like a bridal 
train. Downcast eyes looked up: they began to sing and 
hum in voices that had lost their music through long disuse. 
Once more men talked of great questions at their doors and 
by the fireside: these were great times when they talked 
of their God, of their souls, of their country. Stir and 
excitement took the place of the old lassitude. 

The quiet men were well pleased with him : ' ' He doesn't 
count off on his fingers what one has to do, and what one 
is allowed to do. Seven times seven : and you may eat this 
and you may not do that, and on the Sabbath, so and so. 
Who can attend to all these commandments? He speaks the 
one simple truth, ' Give thy soul to thy Father in Heaven 
and to thy fellow-men . . . then, thou art blessed.' " 

And in the evening the fishers were sitting and standing 
on the shore beside their boats : they had listened to him 
and seen him. " Simon . . . why have you sat all day 



282 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

without saying a word, staring, you who are the most lively 
of all as a rule? What do you say to the man? " Simon 
got up from the edge of the boat, his lips trembling, and 
his eyes fixed on the ground. ' ' Brother, look after my boat 
and my nets. ... To give one's soul to (rod; to have 
one's life filled with love and truth. . . . Blessed is the 
man who goes with him. ... I will follow him and be 
always by his side." 

The small oflfieials surrounded him: he was their man. 
The Nationalists said to them : ' * Pray seven times, was!h, 
and lay down your office. If you don't do this and that you 
are sinners, outcasts, foredoomed to Hell. ' ' He did not so. 
He did not rebuke : he did not curse. He showed them the 
happiness of a soul relying in love on the goodness of God. 
" It is a light yoke and a soft burden indeed. How heavy 
in comparison are the commandments of the Synagogue, the 
misdeeds, the evil conscience, the anxiety, the struggle for 
existence. The burden of a life far from God is too heavy 
for mortal shoulders to bear: but we can bear it with a 
brave and innocent heart if one rests like a child against 
the knees of God. And afterward comes the kingdom of 
God." 

When they heard this they rejoiced and said unto 
another: " What can one say to that? It's the absolute 
truth. What do you say, Matthew, you brooder, what do 
you think of it? " The same evening he saw Matthew sit- 
ting at his desk in his publican's office, and, as he passed, 
cast a long look toward him : a look that went through and 
through the man, so that he rose slowly to his feet, com- 
pelled by those wonderful eyes and the force of that spot- 
less goodness, and, taking up his cloak, he followed him 
with blanched face. 

All the sick who had lain in misery, often from their 
childhood on, in the houses of their relatives ; all those who 
had been driven from their homes by melancholy, or ill- 
weaved ambition, by the visions of madness or the grip of 
infectious disease, and dwelt apart in deserted and ruin- 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 283 

OTIS hovels — all these — and there were thousands of them 
— came in wild excitement. All believed that for some sin 
they had committed they were now inhabited by emissaries 
of Satan. To them, the possessed, he came, this gracious, 
gentle son of man, this child of God, with nothing but joy, 
joy and irresistible hope in his heart. " There is an end 
to all sorrow. The joyful kingdom of Heaven is at hand ! ' ' 
They cried aloud : ' ' Behold, behold ! He is like the holy 
heroes of old ! God dwells within him, a spirit from God 
dwells within him. He must be able to help us, in whom 
a spirit of evil dwells. ' ' Eound him they gathered, a crowd 
of groaning, cursing, beseeching humanity: lost souls in 
crippled bodies. 

It is impossible to paint the picture in sufficiently moAring 
language. This people had, perhaps, no more sick among 
them than others, but all the sick lay in the street, aided by 
no doctor, sheltered by no roof, consoled by no compassion. 
Now help had come: help from God. Ten thousand sick 
and one physician ! And he? He knew one thing — there 
is, there can be no sickness in the kingdom of Heaven. 
The demon of disease fell away like discarded rags from 
all who were ready to put away evil from them, to take 
their stand on God's side. He could heal when heart and 
will came to meet him. There was on his side a holy long- 
ing to help, almost feverish in its intensity, a passionate 
cry to his " Father in Heaven," " shall not Thy Kingdom 
come in this land. ' ' When there met him on the other side 
an eager faith, an utter dependence of the diseased and 
weakened will on the courage shining in his stainless eyes, 
then he could help. ' ' Thou art the child of God ? A child 
of God cannot be sick. . . . Come, give me thy hand. 
. . . Now . . . arise . . . now . . . rejoice, be 
not afraid." 

They cried aloud "Behold, the Saviour! he is the 
Saviour! " The cry rang through him. " The Saviour? 
Am I he? If I am, my people are in my hand. . . . 
Lead me not into temptation! Evil spirits speak with 
their lips." 



284 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

In the evening lie came to a village by the lake, and 
entered the dwelling of an acquaintance. Immediately the 
house was full of people, crowding up to door and window. 
In the village there was a hysterical young man, with no 
strength of mind or body, who had lain for years speech- 
less and crippled in a morbid trance, supposed by himself 
and the villagers to be smitten by evil spirits. Now, his 
father and mother took up the litter in which he lay, and, 
coming to the house, cried, ' ' Let us come in. " It was 
impossible. Strong arms raised the litter, removed some 
of the beams of the flat-wooden roof, and lowered the 
sick man to Jesus' feet. There was a loud outcry on all 
sides, the surging crowd turned their eyes to him in pas- 
sionate expectancy. ' ' You can help : you must help the 
poor man." The sick man looked up at him, trembliag 
entreaty in his eyes. He bent over, and something of his 
holy desire to help, something of his confident certainty 
passed into the sick man. ' ' Since thou hast come in pas- 
sionate entreaty, in trembling faith, thou art free from the 
evil power : the evU spirits have no power upon thee. Thou 
art the child of God: His time is come." With a cry the 
sick man raised himself. "Arise and walk." It was a 
great time. 

A spring storm went through the little land. He bore 
the storm and the storm bore him. The kingdom of Heaven 
had really begun. "It is clear: the whole people will be 
won. Everywhere the rule, the kingdom of God shall have 
might! His will has- hitherto only been done in Heaven, 
it shall now be done on earth. The land is now beoomiug 
holy, and a Holyland is free and happy. What can resist, 
if God and man stand together? " 

The first dark clouds rose in the smiling sky. Two, three, 
at the same time. 

It was the faith of the whole country that a Saviour was 
to bring about the kingdom of Heaven upon earth. There- 
fore, soon after his appearance, there began to be question- 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 285 

ings among the people. " Is this the Saviour? " They 
pondered deeply over it: "Is this he? Yes, this is he. 
Look at his eyes: he is the blessed Son of God. Think 
how good he is, how blessed the work of his hands." 

Then they began to doubt again. " No, this is not he. 
How could you say this was he ? Do you not know that the 
Saviour shall be descended from an ancient royal house, 
that he shall fulfil the law, heal all the sick, destroy the 
oppressors, and create an empire upon earth. This is not 
the Saviour." The hero knew that he was the Saviour: 
his own holy spirit said to him : " I am he for whom ye 
wait, for I can bring my people to the blessed accomplish- 
ment of the kingdom of God. I am he for whom ye wait 
and I wiU declare that I am." 

He saw the deep gulf that separated his faith and the 
faith of his people : he saw that they did not imderstand 
him, that they could not free themselves from the old, mate- 
rial faith: he saw that they always desired to confoimd 
his teaching with this old material faith, and now it surged 
perpetually round him like the surf dashing against the 
cliff. The people said to him, demanded with the furious 
hunger of a concealed desire, "Be the Saviour of our 
dreams ! " He stood firm, pure in heart, gracious in spirit, 
child and man : "I will be the Saviour that my Father 
wills." 

Then there fell a shadow over that pure and lofty spirit. 
The sick and the insane were importunate in their entreat- 
ies: and so it came to pass that he became a worker of 
miracles. Then, as now, people were never tired of pro- 
pounding as a final and irrefragable doctrine, ' ' Health is 
the highest good." " Make me healthy! and me! and my 
brother! and my child! If you can do that you are the 
Messiah, the Saviour." Physical suffering, physical needs, 
rose up like a giant and pressed him from his path. 

The goal to which his path led was not the release from 
sickness of a hundred sick, but the emancipation of a whole 
people from all the ills of mind, body, and estate by bring- 



286 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

ing them over to the side of God. He saw the danger 
rising gigantic before him, and a spirit of restlessness 
drove him from village to village, and roused him anew in 
the midst of his desire to dream alone in lonely fields, 

A new trouble came from the south, from tlie capital. 
The' Nationalists and clericals, dwelling in close proximity 
to the great temple, used to send their least important 
teachers, priests, and agents to the poor populations of 
the north. But now that there resounded from the- north 
the clear note : ' * Our Father in Heaven has set up His 
kingdom in our land; He will make us free and blessed," 
they realized that the question was highly serious. And 
so these leaders of religion and patriotism sent to the north 
their most harsh and fervent agents. They regarded him 
with dark, knitted brows. 

It was a strange intercourse, with the mass of the people 
indifferent to religion, actively opposed to the Church, and 
the publicans, the betrayers of their country. " Yes," he 
said, mockingly ; * ' why should I trouble about the righteous, 
the strong, those who have everything? They need no 
physician. I love those who seek to be purified and healed, 
who hunger and thirst after strength." They came to 
him with uplifted hands, a commandment at the end of each 
finger. " God says, you shall fast." "Ah! " he replied; 
" we are forced to fast when our throats are closed by fear 
or famine." " God says, you shall do no work on the Sab- 
bath." " Yes," said he, " rejoice and help one another on 
the Sabbath." In clear words, glowing with goodness, he 
opposed their distorted and senseless interpretation by his 
truth, which came to men like sunshine. He thought, in- 
deed, that he might avoid a breach with these men. Carried 
away by the enthusiasm of the people, he thought that, in 
spite of their gloom, they, too, would be aroused ; his brave 
and stainless soul still cherished the dream, " The whole 
people blessed and holy beneath the sceptre of God." 

But a few days later, embittered by the discovery of their 
own impotence, they went before the people. There is 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 287 

nothing in the whole world more dreadful than the pro- 
fessional religion of people whose hearts have no love in 
them. " He violates the commandments of God, do not ye 
do so. His great deeds are done by evil means." Then 
the Holy Helper arose, his gracious heart, as always, full 
of pity, standing before them, as the angel of the Lord once 
stood in burning wrath before Cain, he said, "Beware! 
He who knowingly calls that which, is good evil is guilty of 
an immortal sin." They shrank back and made their way 
south, to the capital, where they reported: " This man is 
bringing the Church in the north, into disgrace; he is a 
danger to God and the State." They worked in the dark, 
by underground means. . . . Soon afterward, on their 
instigation, his own mother and brothers came from his 
native village and appeared in front of the house where he 
was. " We have heard that some say he is one of the 
heroes of old; others even declare him to be the Saviour 
himself. He is a poor, demented man. Help ns to take 
him home with us.' ' 

When they told him within that his own folk were mourn- 
ing over him outside, his strong, stainless heart stood still 
for a moment ; but he lifted up his head. 

And the goodness of God permitted him at this moment 
to meet beaming eyes looking up into his. " I have no 
mother," lie said, " and no brethren. My mother and my 
brethren are those which hear the word of God and do it." 

Yet the blow rankled. " I am deserted by miae own 
people, by those who have known me from my childhood 
and know that there is in me a good spirit sent from God. 
I will go home and see whether they receive me." 

He went from village to village, through crowds of wor- 
shippers, and curious, miserable, and sick; at every comer 
agents of the Church; and so reached home. They were 
ready for him there. They looked at him with sombre 
eyes. Jesus the Carpenter, old Joseph's son; is he to set 
himself above the learned priests of the capital? Is he to 
be a saint and a hero? The Saviour Himself who is to 
bring the kingdom of Heaven upon earth? 



288 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" If you can . . . look, there is a sick man. . . . you 
have known him since your childhood. Help him." 

In the sick man's eye there was no gleam of confidence, 
of love. His trust and courage, thus lamed, could not avail; 
he could not help him. 

Then they mocked at him, and cried in furious anger: 
" The fool has made us a laughing stock in the land." 
They wanted to lay hands upon him. But he went, and 
departed from among them. 

His home was lost. 

From this day onward the way of the gracious one led 
into the shadow; from this day his face bore the expression 
of intense struggle. He knew not that all could not be 
children of God ; there must be a parting. The Baptist had 
spoken of it. Well, then, let the parting come. " Think 
ye that I am come to give peace on the earth? Not peace, 
but a sword." 

There was no fear. His burning eyes sought out his 
opponents. He knew his path and feared it not. The 
craftsman took up the contest against the history of Ms 
people, against the great men of his people, against all 
the powers of the world. He knows the power of evil is 
at an end. God is with him. God gives him the victory. 
' ' I am come to cast fire upon the earth, and would it were 
ablaze already." 

Through the land there rang a clear and piercing trumpet 
call ; like a signal to the regiment standing drawn up in the 
morning gray to charge upon the foe, it penetrated to the 
marrow of those that heard. No man had hitherto struck 
so deep into those sacred springs where the divine dwells 
in secret in the hearts of men. No one had spoken with 
such power to thrill and change. 

" Is it keeping a thousand commandments, my brethren, 
a load that is laid like a sack of sand upon the back of an 
ass, that makes men righteous? Is it praying, fasting, 
going to church, or washing? Purify your hearts, my 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 289 

brethren ; hold your hands always ready to do what is right 
and true. Only those who do the will of God can hope to 
live in a free and happy land. Purify your lives, purify 
your souls! Be holy; the kingdom of Heaven is at hand, 
which shall set men asunder. Ye have heard that it was 
said to them pf old time: •' Thou shalt not kill." But I 
say imto you, Away with all anger and all hatred, let your 
soul glow in forgetting and forgiving. Ye have heard that 
it was said, " Thou shalt not commit adultery," but I say 
unto you. If thou look after another woman with desire in 
thy heart, pluck out thy right eye and cast it from thee; 
be pure with the one eye that thou hast. Again, ye have 
heard it said, " Thou shalt not forswear." I say unto 
you, A lie is an unthinkable thing to the children of God. 
Let your speech be yes and no . . . that is enough. You 
have heard it said, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. ' ' 
I say unto you. Resist not him that is evil. Let them strike 
you. You will overcome them by your gentleness. . . . 
Be all goodness and compassion. Put away everything: 
clothing and family. Have no other thoughts but " Father 
in Heaven, Thy kingdom come." What are possessions, 
what is right and wrong in the kingdom of God? But if 
the power of evil tries to drag you away from God, call on 
Him and pray, pray fervently. Ye shall be heard, most 
assuredly .ye shall be heard. Would a father, when his 
children ask him for bread, give them stones? . . . 
What things are ye to pray for? Trifles? Clothes and 
shoes, a house and garden, good neighbors, and so forth? 
Assuredly not. A little bread for today, so that ye may 
live to see the kingdom come. Pray that the kingdom come ! 
Pray that ye be ready for its coming. Pray, ' ' Our Father, 
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in 
Heaven. Give us bread this day; forgive us as we forgive 
others.' ' 

Looking into their faces, he saw reflected in their eyes 
the struggle between joyous belief and oppressed misery. 

Bitter was his condemnation of all earthly goods. 

Vol. XVII — 19 



290 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

"Accursed is money; accursed the care that lurks in the 
shadow of money. Wealth is guilty when it dominates all 
thoughts and conquers the soul itself, guilty when it lives 
in idle forgetfulness of the poor and sick dwelling near it 
in the squalor of their sunless homes. Accursed is money. 
If you possess it you are guilty. Expiate your guilt; give 
away your money to lessen the poverty of the land." 

A man rose up and came to Him, " Lord, my brother is 
deceiving me about my inheritance. Command him to give 
it to me. ' ' He turned away in contempt. ' ' Man, who has 
made me a judge of inheritance ? • I am no assignor of acres 
and oxen ! I am here to say, ' Let your wealth go. Look, 
the sparrows sow not, the lilies spin not, and their Father 
in Heaven feeds and clothes them every day. Shall He let 
the children of His kingdom, the care of His soul, perish of 
hunger and cold? Away with money! It is worthless, it 
hinders you. Do not coUect money, collect rather the love 
of God and man. Care for this only; God's land shall be 
our home. Soon! tomorrow! or the day after tomorrow! 
Care and strive only for this — to be worthy of the blessed 
home, the blessed time that is close at hand.' 

' ' Be not afraid, children of God ! Despair not of your 
own soul; God dwells within it to help it. See how small 
a grain of mustard seed, you can hold it between the tips 
of your two fingers; and yet it grows, grows into a tree. 
Be not afraid, children of God ; will one thing only, to bring 
your souls close to God. Forgetting aU else, care for this 
alone. The merchant goes down to the beach to buy what 
is for sale. A pearl-fisher held a pearl in the hoUow of his 
hand, a pearl of great price ; to be bought cheap. A bar- 
gain, a bargain! The man hastened away; he sold and 
put away from him his land, his house, and aU his posses- 
sions, and returned with the money in the hoUow of his 
hand, and bought the pearl. It was of unspeakable value. 
In a moment he became very rich. Brethren, purify your 
souls ! Draw near to God ! The bliss of God costs little 
to obtain. Look at my eyes, look at my life, look at all I 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 291 

do — God's bliss dwells within my soul. God's bliss comes 
— yes, it comes. Look at me." 

An old woman had kept her eager eyes fixed upon him; 
now she cried in her clear old voice, ' ' Blessed is the womb 
that bare thee, and the breasts which thou didst suck." 

His soul was still full of soaring hope. He forgot and 
despised the enmity of the clericals. The wound his home 
had dealt him healed, although a scar remained. There 
were many who doubted, but many stood before him with 
joyful eyes. Lofty exaltation went before him like a gleam- 
ing herald ; and the faithful stood at his right hand and his 
left like knightly watchmen. Rejoicing sounded behind 
him like a waving banner. 

His courage was high ; he sent the disciples who had been 
three or four months with him now into the surrounding 
districts; they declared, " There is an end to all sorrow; 
the kingdom of Heaven, yearned for so long, is now at hand. 
A man like the heroes of old, a man beloved by God and 
men, a man of kindly strength and lofty stainlessness of 
soul is now among us. He announces the day of healing, 
he forgives sin, and reproves the spirits of evil and casts 
them forth. He has conquered altogether; our enchanted 
souls stand before him in speechless rapture. Believe us, 
cast all evil from you that your hearts may laugh like ours, 
and then God in Heaven will suddenly make an end of all 
our misery, and, with the help of His thousand angels, will 
build His kingdom in our land." 

After a week they returned. " Oh, Lord, even the evil 
spirits within the sick and the insane did our bidding." 
Then his soul rejoiced mightily. " I saw Satan fall from 
his dark comer in Heaven like a flash of lightning on to 
earth, to save what he could save. He sees that his king- 
dom is at an end upon the earth. But I laugh and rejoice 
in Thee, my Father in Heaven; I laugh and rejoice that 
Thou, a Mysterious Being, has displayed to me Thy gra- 
ciousness and made me Thy child, and now helpest me to 
bring to Thee many others of Thy children. I laugh and 



292 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

rejoice that no one has known Thee save I alone, that all 
must now see from me and learn from me and attain bliss 
through me. I laugh and rejoice that Thou hast not opened 
Thy kingdom to the great and wise, but to men like me, 
lowly and unlearned." 

And so, rejoicing, he went on his way, always kindly, 
always full of graciousness. 

A rich Nationalist named Simon, who liked to have 
famous people at his table and to have a reputation for 
generosity, invited him to a feast. The table was set in 
the open hall ; the guests sat round with bare feet, according 
to the custom of the country. There was a great press at 
the door; a poor girl, tortured by remorse for a life of 
dissipation, heard that he was there of whom it was said 
that the spirit of God dwelt in him in some wondrous man- 
ner. She stood there seeking for him; then, recogniziag 
the true, gentle eyes, she fell on her knees before him. As 
she lay there she saw that his feet were dusty from the way, 
and, taking water from a vessel, she washed his feet, weep- 
ing the while, and, bending down, dried them with her long 
hair. A silence fell upon the hall; there was no sound save 
her bitter weeping. Then the hero, looking up, saw secret 
scorn written on the face of his host. " If you were a 
saint you would know that she is a prostitute." Fire 
burned in his eyes. " Simon; I have something to say to 
you." The silence was more intense. "A moneylender 
lent money to two men, fifty shekels to one, five hundred 
to the other. Neither of them could pay him back. He 
gave them what they owed him. Now tell me, which of the 
two would love the moneylender most? " 

Simon smiled : " The one to whom the most was given." 

Then the gracious one said angrily: " Listen, Simon. 
All over our country it is customary to give a guest who 
comes in from the dusty street water to wash his feet, and 
a friendly handshake. You gave me neither the one nor 
the other. You think you do not need to be kind ; you think 
you need neither God nor man ; you think you owe nothing 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 293 

to any one, not even fifty shekels. You think. . . . Oh, 
this lost, rumed woman! . . . This woman, Simon! 
Five hundred shekels, that is a great deal to owe God and 
man ! A great sinner ! But, behold, all her sins are for- 
gotten and forgiven ; because of the love she has poured out 
to me, a wanderer, and to God, whom she knows within me. 
Love of God and man, Simon, can cover a multitude of sins. 
Are you forgiven, Simon? " 

To her he spoke tenderly. ' * God in Heaven is thy Father, 
too, and He loves thee. He loves thee, just as thou art. 
Do thou love Him also, even if thou canst not free thyself 
from sin ! Go now, do not weep so." 

And so he went from village to village, always great and 
good, filled with new inspirations. 

But behind him, far enough behind for the dust of daily 
life to have settled down and choked the excited souls; 
behind him there crept black enemies. They rose like crows 
from the roof of a church, rising up and up, flying on and 
on, following the wild beast as he takes his lonely way into 
the field, flying behind him, cawing softly; they rose from 
the great Temple in the south and flew north, flew north 
behind him, screeching, " You think you will destroy the 
ancient holy things ; you shall yet see and marvel, you fool, 
how deeply rooted they are in the soul of the people." 
They cried passionately to the people, " Eemain in the faith 
of your ancestors ! Will you deride your fathers in their 
graves? Is this ignorant man, brought up in some little vil- 
lage far from the knowledge of the Synagogue, on the verge 
of the moorland, is he to lay hands on the Holy of Holies, 
which the learned men of God protect? Is he to lay hands 
on the sole and most sacred possession of our poor, unhappy 
country, the Synagogue? What else does it mean? Is this 
to be the promised Saviour? Does he fulfil a single con- 
dition of the true Saviour ? He is the servant of the devil. ' ' 

They stirred up misery, fear, and terror; they let con- 
fusion loose again. They talked secretly with the women 
and with the palsied old men. They played upon the stu- 



294 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

pidity and superstition of the masses ; freeing them from 
the terrible necessity of judging for themselves. ' ' We are 
priests, and therefore know." 

Many refused to listen to them. Those of a deeper ten- 
derness of soul, many a strong, simple man, many a brave 
woman, many a workman said, " What is the Synagogue 
to us? Has it ever cared for us? " 

Many looked up to him with joyful eyes, transported by 
his inspiration, his goodness, and his truth. But the great 
mass of the people, that blind and heavy beast that had 
lifted its head a little and begun to look about it a little 
when his clear voice rang in its ears, the mass of the people 
went back to its slumbers. " Certainly the commandments . 
and customs of the Synagogue are sacred. How could they 
be so venerable else? Our fathers and our grandfathers 
strove to keep them faithfully. Oh, me ! what an age ; why 
has one to ponder so deeply? Sit still, my soul ; my soul, the 
priests must know. Look how clever their eyes are, and 
what deep lines are in their lofty brows ! Beware, my soul ! 
I pray thee, be at peace and keep to the old order of things." 
So the heavy beast became calm once more : the crows flew 
on behind him without nttering a sound. 

The sunshiny hero turned and retraced his steps; the 
whole district he had covered hitherto was not more than 
five or six days' journey. When he returned he found a 
change in the attitude of the people ; he saw that they were 
falling away from him. He went on until he came to a 
village through which he had passed in triumph four months 
ago; the people stood on the thresholds, immovable. He 
passed through several little towns by the lake, where four 
and five months ago he had been surrounded by eager 
crowds, with madmen shrieking, sick men brought out into 
the street on their litters, women imploring him for aid, 
all eyes turned to him in passionate excitement, every one 
at his feet, as he declared, " Our country is now like a 
blessed Holyland." Now the streets were empty, one or 
two faces looking shyly round the doors. He came to the 



CHRIST AND THE RICH YOUTH 



Prom the Paifitmg bi/ Eduard von Gebhardt 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 295 

little town by tlie lake which only two months ago he had 
called "my town " in proud assurance, when enthusiasm 
had risen high in streets and houses ; where the kingdom 
of Heaven seemed already to rule in the streets and to 
inspire men's hearts. The sick still came, and some of the 
faithful. But the mass of the people stayed nervously at 
home. "We can hear no trumpet blast from Heaven. 
The kingdom of Heaven does not come. He is good, but 
mistaken." The clericals threatened. 

When he saw the decline of faith, this nervous shrinking 
away from him, he could not restrain the words of burning 
anger. " Woe to you, towns of the lake; ye who have seen 
wonders. Others would have repented in sackcloth and 
ashes. Woe to you, my town! Thou wast raised up to 
Heaven, thou shalt be cast down to Hell." All joy was 
gone ; his heart was burdened aud oast down. What could 
he do ? His soid, pregnant with a new and glorious world, 
could not bring it into being. What could he do? He 
knows that his Heavenly Father is ever by his side, but 
men will not believe. What can he do? To go back is 
impossible, but can he abandon the cause of his joy ; leave 
the truth with all its sweetness? What can he do? Come 
to an understanding with the Church party? Say, " Go on 
fasting and washing, keep the commandments and the Sab- 
bath, and purify your hearts. ' ' That was impossible. One 
cannot cut truth in halves, keep one half and let the other 
go. If it meant death, he must stand by the truth, one and 
indivisible. Serve God whole-heartedly, and God's will be 
done! . . . "What is God's will? What is He doing 
with me? " 

Then there came two events to bring the final clearness, 
like nightly beacons to show the further path. 

Once again for the second and la§t time the -wild, dark 
apparition rose before him which six months ago had 
awakened his dreaming soul with clarion voice : the hero of 
the stream, the Baptist. He was now a prisoner, and in 



296 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

his prison strained like the captured deer for the fresh 
woodland and the keen wind. He sent two disciples to the 
north. " Go and ask him what he is doing. What does he 
seek? Do not the people exult in him, have they made him 
king? Why does not he arise like a lion and fiU the land 
with his roar? Do not the old prophecies say the Herald 
of the Lord shall go south to the capital, and then, sitting 
on the throne of the ancient kings, rule forever over a free 
people? Why does he not go thither, sword in hand, at the 
head of the people that have exulted in him for six months? 
Go and ask him, Art thou the great Saviour, sent by God, 
for whom we have cried aloud for eight hundred years? 
Or must we wait for another? " 

The question fell like lead upon the hero's heart. " He, 
too, has the old material hero before his eyes! He, too, 
does not understand. ' ' He answered brief and clear : ' ' Tell 
him, the kingdom of God exists ; and this it is : Sickness and 
sin, poverty and sorrow are declining, and the oppressed 
people is full of laughing joy." He raised his hand and 
said, shaken by this cruel separation from the brave hero, 
' ' This is a brave and true man, but he has fallen into the 
grave error of thinking, like the self-righteous, that the 
kingdom of Heaven will come to pass by means of earthly 
might. But I say unto you that the pure and lowly are 
the citizens of the kingdom of Heaven, and they will make 
their way thither without weapons and without armor, with- 
out forms and commandments." 

When the clericals heard how he spoke of their venerable 
precepts they rose against him ; they ventured to attack the 
lion, now that his strength seemed to be failing. 

" Tell us plainly what do you say to all the sacred com- 
mandments issued by the Synagogue? " 

He trampled their sacred customs and commandments 
under his feet. ' ' You hypocrites, are these the command- 
ments of God? No, they are the senseless invention of 
men, which come between the people and the will of God. 
Away with the Church ritual of righteousness; it is the 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 297 

curse of the people. Nothing matters but the heart of a 
man and the life he leads." 

There was an end of the so-called " sacred " precepts, 
an end of all pretentious self-complacent righteousness; 
he cast them all to the ground, the ancient holies, the 
ceremonial, the countless priests, the sacrifices and the 
sacraments, the long pilgrimages, all that had weighed on 
mankind for centuries he swept away; on his shoulders 
there now rested the whole burden of human destiny. 

He was now an accursed sinner, a blasphemer of God. 
" Listen, listen ! Have you heard? He has defiled every- 
thing holy; he is an emissary of the devil." And the 
masses, that blind, heavy beast, crept further away from 
him. 

"What now? What will become of me and my work 
now? I feel that death and sorrow are drawing nigh. 
. . . What then? Farewell, young life. ... If I only 
knew how to carry the duty He has laid upon my soul. 
Oh, dear country, how can I make you pure and holy, ready 
for the time when God shall come with His angels to set up 
His kingdom within your bounds? How can I complete 
my work, hated as I am by the rich and righteous, supported 
by the people one day, only to be deserted by them the next? 
How am I to begin? How can I make the people one with 
me in spirit, so that we can break into the kingdom of 
Heaven together? How does He will that I should help 
Him! " 

And behold; as he questioned fearfully he saw as if in a 
mist the old sacred banner waving on his path in front of 
him, the banner up to which the people had looked with 
dazzled eyes for eight hundred years. " The Saviour will 
come; the son of a King." How the people gazed! " Is 
he coming? He is come? There is the banner swaying; 
look how the sword flashes ! " A wild shout of joy rent the 
sMes, the people were at their Saviour's feet. 

" Shall I take the banner in my hand; shall I say I am 
the Saviour— I? " 



298 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" Those possessed by evil spirits cry out, ' You are he! ' 
In many an hour of exaltation the people have urged me to 
say, ' I am he.' The hero from the river asked, 'Art thou 
he ? ' All dream of, all long for, the cry, ' Out with the 
banner! ' " 

' ' I know that I am he. From my childhood I have been 
the child of God." 

" If I do not raise the banner there is no hope that God 
will win the people." 

" Beware, do not touch the banner; there is earth cling- 
ing to it. Beware ! thou knowest that the Saviour, in whom 
the people believe, is not he in whom thou believest; their 
belief is wild, confused, it has nothing to do with thee; it 
will drag thee and thy stainless mission down into the dark 
confusion of death. ' ' 

He went north, across the border, to be alone in a strange 
place, with his little band of disciples. His soul was heavy 
and perturbed. ' ' I know that my Father in Heaven is 
with me . . . my faith does not tremble. . . . God 
rules within my soul. His kingdom will come on earth, and 
soon. How strangely hard it is to be one with God and 
yet unable to bring His will to pass. . . . And it is time 
... I must go south, I must go through the whole land, 
I must go to the capital and proclaim there also that the 
kingdom of Heaven is at hand. What am I to do! Listen 
to the mysterious rustling of the old, the miraculous ban- 
ner! He who holds it has strength. The people follow 
him! What do the old chronicles say of the Saviour? *A 
twig from the ancient royal stem ' — and I am a craftsman 
sprung from the people. What do they say? What do 
the people say when they sit by their doors in the evening? 
' He will hold in his hajid the might of earthly power; he 
will ride against the foe with waving banners.' ... No, 
I will not do it — will not depart from the word that God 
has spoken to me. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the 
pure in heart. And do the old chronicles tell no other story? 
Do they not speak of the king of peace? * Behold, land, 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 299 

thy king is come, clad in peace. ' Not a king ruling with 
the sword over a people armed with swords ; a Mng ruling 
in the strength of a pure and lofty heart other people that 
are pure in heart. And I am he. " 

So he pondered over the history of his people and over 
his own future, and he did not depart by one hair's breadth 
from the truth that was the sacred possession of his soul. 
They turned and went south, homeward. As he drew near 
the familiar district the crowd that followed him grew. 

The contest still raged in his soul. 

"Are you the Saviour? Then seize the banner; help thy 
people and God will be with thee." Already there shone 
in his eyes the light of another world. The knees of those 
who saw him bent beneath them; the sick and the poor 
rejoiced ; thousands followed his healing hands, and heark- 
ened to his gracious words, feeling neither hunger nor 
thirst. He filled the souls with such joy that they forgot 
their bodies. ^ 

The priests alone remained unmoved; religion had long 
since turned to poison in their hard hearts. ' ' You are a 
wonder worker, but what sort of wonders have you done ? 
Healing the sick? There are many in the land who can do 
that. Come, make red fire descend from the blue sky, here 
on this moorland path where you stand now. Or if not that, 
then let an angel from God stand with his pure feet on the 
white sand on your left!" 

In bitter anger he replied, " You want a sign from 
Heaven, that belief and salvation may cost you nothing! 
Ye have seen and heard of a holiness that has never existed 
in the world before, and yet ye have not believed! A sign 
from Heaven? Ye shall have it when ye rise from your 
graves before the judgment seat." 

Hearing question and answer, the people were once more 
filled with doubt, because they had seen nothing. " Many 
people can heal the sick; ay, and work wonders; the world 
is full of them." 

Once more he crossed the border into the loneliness of 



300 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

the north, wandering over deserted moorland paths, sorely 
troubled by the scornful attack of the priests and the waver- 
ing of the people. " I cannot reach the goal in this way. 
How am I to bring the kingdom of Heaven to pass upon 
Earth ? Father in Heaven, help me ! " 

" Thou art the Saviour; now thou art strong! " 

He went further on his desolate way. ' ' What is written 
concerning the Saviour in the ancient chronicles? They 
talk of the waving palm leaves and the rejoicing of children, 
of a joyous entry into the capital, and then of a glorious 
rule over a sinless, obedient people ; but is that all they say? 
Do they not speak of the people, " the people wUl make 
deaf its ears and turn its heart to stone," and they speak 
of revilement and contempt, of bitter desertion, of a miser- 
able and lonely death. They speak not only of the Saviour's 
victory, but of his death. " 

" And after death? " 

" What then — what after death? ,What says the chron- 
icle ? ' One like a child of man arose to heaven among the 
clouds, and was brought before the Ancient of Days; to 
him were granted power and glory and kingdom upon earth, 
all peoples and all races were to serve him ; his power was 
to endure unchanged forever, his kingdom was never to 
suffer destruction. . . . ' It may be that the Saviour 
must first die and go to God to receive the crown . . . 
and then . . . after a few days ... on the third day 
he returns and establishes th^ kingdom of Heaven." 

His soul soared to the heavenly heights and expanded so 
as to embrace the whole of humanity; weaving visions of 
marvelous splendor, touching the extreme limits of human 
thought in lofty delirium. There was no fear in him. If 
the hearts of men were made of stone was it not written in 
the Book, " I make thy brow harder than stone, as hard 
as a diamond?" No; there was no fear; no. He will 
execute his Father's will, were it even more wonderful, 
even more diffioTilt. If only men are helped! His ideal 
never changes ; it was still the same as when he first arose 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 301 

among men — the condition of humanity, its misery, sick- 
ness, madness, wretchedness and oppression, sin and guilt, 
cannot endure. A wonder must take place. The kingdom 
of Heaven will and must come. Then men, pure, rejoicing 
in the goodness of God, content in mind and body, will find 
happiness in performing His will, " Thy will be done on 
earth as it is in Heaven. ' ' This holy work was his to do 
on earth with the help of God. That was his idea. Never 
for a moment did he depart by one hair's breadth from his 
true and stainless self. He brooded long and painfully 
over the execution of his idea. He had judged the ancient 
customs ; he now considered the hopes of the people. . . . 

" I must lift up the ancient standard, it shall be pure and 
my course pure. I must lift up the ancient standard : only 
under this standard can the people be inspired by faith. 
It is the will of God : otherwise He would help me without 
the standard. I will lift np the standard. Then, then it 
will come with loud rejoicing from Heaven, with the help 
of the angels, the kingdom of Heaven upon earth.' ' 

So he brooded. Torn by the world's travail, torn by the 
very sublimity of his own nature, he went behind the heavy 
horses that drew the wagon of humanity through the dark 
valley, holding the obstinate, the slow, and the impatient 
on a short rein, forcing them up onto an upland path, where 
the sun shone and the wind blew upon them. 

They went on their way across the moor toward the north 
for three or four days, he in front, lost in thought, the dis- 
ciples behind with sinking spirits, that only rose when he 
turned to look at them. His eyes were at once their terror 
and their joy. Thus they reached the foot of the mountain 
How long would he wander on, undecided? The hour of 
decision must come. 

" Tell me, what do the people say that I am? " 

It is sad that he should have to ask people's opinion. 

The disciples replied, " They say you are one of the 
heroes of old; one of the dead arisen, they say." 

"And what do you sayl " 



302 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The hot-headed fellow among them cried out of a full 
heart. "You — you are the Saviour! . . . we have long 
known it." 

' ' Yes, you are the Saviour. ' ' 

' ' Only speak, and you could rule the land.' ' 

' ' And then, out with the sword ! Down with the foreign 
rule and the upstart parsons ! ' ' 

"You, King in your native country! . . . Your king- 
dom at the sword's point! " 

"And we, your disciples, standing to your right and left, 
vassals and ministers." 

It filled him with horror to see how little even these men 
understood him, these men, nearer to him than all others, 
who had been with him for half a year. He answered 
harshly, " Do ye know what is written? It may come to 
war and conquest. . . . But the old books tell a different 
tale : a tale of sorrow and death, and then, and not till then, 
the glory comes. ' ' 

They shook their heads ; they could not understand. The 
old books, the inspiration of their youth had taught them 
only the wild song of joyful contest — up with the banner 
of salvation ! and God and His hosts will give the victory. 
The hot-headed one came close to him and whispered, " Do 
not talk so much of humility and purity and death ! Talk 
more about the sword ! Up to the throne ! . . . Who shall 
sit on thy right hand. Master? " 

He pushed them aside, " Get thee behind me, Satan. I 
hearken only to the will of God. What shall it profit a 
man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? He 
who will follow me must put from him all wild and earthly 
desires, and go with me to life or death, victory or defeat." 

They turned and went to their homes. 

He went on alone. A man pure, good, and holy, wrapped 
in sublime thoughts, in wonderful visions and dreams, set 
apart by his love for mankind and for the eternal and 
mysterious power which he called Father ! Never was man 
so utterly alone ; one man against a whole people, aga-inst 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 303 

the whole of humanity. But the Eternal Power spread its 
arms around him. He resolved to go south, and there 
proclaim the kingdom of Heaven in the capital, bearing in 
his brave, fearful soul the power to meet all that might 
come. 

What can stand against the soul of a man sublime and 
stainless ? 

As they journeyed southward, his eyes looking their la,st 
on the green hills and vale around the lake, crowds once 
more gathered around the helper and frieiid of men to hear 
his wondrous words. Now there was a new astonishment : 
the disciples did not conceal the secret they had learned. 
" He himself has said he is the Saviour! The Saviour for 
whom we have waited for eight hundred years ! ' ' 

" The Saviour! " 

" Was not the Saviour to be of an ancient royal house? 
Was he not to come in the golden panoply of war? Was he 
not to wield the sword and ride upon the storm? This man 
is good, ay, and holy ; he speaks of mercy and of purity of 
heart." 

Questions were asked and answered in feverish excite- 
ment. There was no wild outburst of rejoicing. 

The clericals went to the Duke, who held a subordinate 
position in the north, and was always eager to find some 
way of ingratiating himself with the all-powerful imperial 
governor in the south. They roused him by saying, * ' Be- 
fore he was merely a harmless enthusiast, but now that he 
calls himself a Saviour he has become a political offender." 

Faithful adherents warned the hero of a conspiracy on 
foot against him, but he was already on his way south. 
There was reason for hastening his journey. The great 
festival of the Synagogue was just beginning in the capital ; 
thousands of people assembled from all parts of the country, 
and their compatriots scattered in all quarters of the globe 
came too. 

He would arise in the midst of the festival and declare. 



304 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

* ' I am the Saviour, I ... I shall bring to pass the 
kingdom of Heaven upon earth. ' ' And then the Heavenly 
Father would appear by his side with more than ten thou- 
sand warriors from His Heavenly host. And if not he 
would come again, soon after his death, with the Heavenly 
host behind him. He sent a message breathing contempt 
to the Duke, ' ' Tell the fox that I am healing the sick and 
the insane, and on the third day I reach my goal." With 
the courage of despair, conscious of the shadows dosing 
round him, he said, " I must go on my way today, tomorrow, 
the day after tomorrow, for they must rise in the capital 
whom God has inspired and set in flames," His words 
entered in Uke nails into the hearts of his friends, " I must 
die ; but I shall return in glory, clad with the might of God, 
to establish His kingdom." 

And so for the last time he journeyed through his home 
on his way south, with folded lips, in his heart foreknowl- 
edge of death, in his soul the courage of despair, keeping 
his way secret as far as he could, to reserve his strength for 
his entry into the capital. . . . But his companions went 
with him, behind him and before him, in joyous array, 
crying aloud, ' ' The long-expected Saviour is at hand ! The 
great transformation is at hand! The great day is come; 
not as we expected, but it is come. Wonders are taking 
place. Come and behold them." 

The agents of the Nationalists flew ahead like crows: 
' ' Men of the south, pillars of the Church, hold high your 
heads. ... He is at hand, he is at hand, and he says he is 
the Saviour. The Saviour! " 

A wild outcry rose from the temple roof. On to the 
south, hour after hour, onwards, through crowds, on lonely 
paths; as they went their souls inspired by his vivid 
words to the belief that they should stand armed and ready 
for the break of the glorious day of the kingdom of Heaven; 
out of the bloody dawn of his death. He told them of the 
farmer's son who had left his home in the pride of his heart 
and gone out into the evil world, and, after wallowing in the 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 305 

mire and falling upon bitter sorrow, returned home and 
been lovingly received there. ... He told them of the 
woman who lost a fourpenny-piece and searched for it far, 
far into the night, and how her heart rejoiced within her 
when she found it. . . . He told them of the shepherd's 
long, long search for the lost sheep. He had a hundred 
sheep, but he searched till dawn for this one that was lost. 
How he rejoiced when he found it ! Behtfld, of such worth 
is a human soxil in the eyes of God ! so does He rejoice over 
it ! Take heed of your souls, that are so cherished. Take 
heed that they are worthy of the kingdom of Heaven, which 
is now drawing near. 

The train that followed them swelled as they went on. 
One day passed, and then another, and the capital was no 
longer far away. Then the pious fools stepped once more 
across Ms path. They wanted to force him to weave a net 
for himself to hold, him in its meshes, when he raised his 
hand and said, " I am the Saviour — listen: in the books 
it is written, aa you know, ' If the man please he can turn 
away his wife. Get thee hence, woman; I wiU behold thee 
no longer.' " He looked down upon them. " Marriage 
means, ye are one for life. ' ' 

He was the first to put the? weak woman beside the man 
as his equal. . . . Women of the world, ye owe him much. 

They stepped back in silence. He was greater than the 
ancient writings. 

When they halted for the night the mothers came to him 
with their children in their arms and holding their hands, 
and asked him to bless them. The disciples, like all the 
people of their age, wanted to turn the children coldly away. 

* ' Children ? Away with them ! Creatures of no account ! 
Beat them, drive them back! " 

He said, " In the kingdom of Heaven there are none of 
little account; all shall sit at the feast, all shall be filled. 
And the children above all ! The children above all. They 
are full of trust, and therefore they are great in the king- 
dom of Heaven. Be as the children are! Come hither, 

Vol. XVn — 20 



306 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

mother, come hither with thy babe." He took the children 
on his knee and kissed them. 

He was the first to bring the children into the sunshine. 
He was the first to put the children beside the old as their 
equals. Women and children of the world! ye owe him 
much. 

They went on for the third and last day. 

The crowd grew, procession after procession filling the 
wide road on their way to the capital. Strangers coming 
from the east joined them. All had heard of the holy hero, 
and now heard more as they ran whispering together and 
marveling over his mien and the lofty purity of that face, 
in which already burned the knowledge of death like a 
beacon in a stormy night. The sea surged round him. 

A rich young man knelt in the dust before him, * ' Master, 
what can I do to enter into the kingdom of Heaven? " 

And he bent down to him and said, ' * Thou knowest 
the commandments : ' Thou shalt not bear false wit- 
ness.' " . . . 

"All that I have observed . . . since I was a child 
. . . but there is no peace in my soul." 

He bent further down to him ; the young man pleased him : 
he thought, " Here is a soul that belongs to Thee." " One 
thing is wanting for thy peace of soul : give all thou hast to 
the poor and follow me." 

Then he arose, sighing deeply, and staggered away till he 
was lost to sight among the crowd. 

' ' How hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kiagdom 
of Heaven." 

The crowd swelled, procession joining procession. The 
decision was near. 

Two of the disciples came up to him, " Lord, promise us 
that we shall be thy lieutenants afterward." 

He looked at them in trouble. "Are ye fain to die with 
me? " 

" Yes, Lord, we are fain," 

His eyes shone into theirs. ' ' It shall be as ye say ; ye 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 307 

shall die with me for my sake, and afterward ye shall rule 
with me. But God alone can say who shall be second after 
me and third. . . . " He turned to the friends nearest 
him, " Ye must not let yourselves be called ' lord.' One 
alone is our Lord, our Father in Heaven. In the world they 
say: Lord, Lord; rule, rule; but ye say: Serve, serve, as 
much service as possible. Help and heal. Serve as I serve, 
who give up my life to free thousands from the evil and 
meaningless service of life, and give them happiness in the 
kingdom of Heaven." 

The streets of the little town outside the capital surged 
with the excited crowd. On the branch of a tree there stood 
a little man, a publican, who had grown rich with the money 
he had extorted from a poor and oppressed people. In his 
eyes was reflected the trouble of his uneasy conscience. 
" Woe is me, if the kingdom come now and my poor soul 
must stand outside, though it yearns for redemption. ' ' 

The Saviour saw the eyes and knew them for suxjh as he 
could use. " Who is that man? " 

" He is a rogue. A traitor, an accursed tax-gatherer." 

" Come down from the tree; I will eat with thee." 

He walked by him, stumbling and tumbling over his 
words. ' * Lord . . . thou wilt be my guest . . . thou 
art so gracious unto me. Lord . . . therefore will I give 
half my goods to the poor this very day, because thou hast 
been so good to me! Never, never will I cheat again." 

After a brief midday rest he went on his way on the 
slowly rising road that led to the capital, his disciples half 
in terror, half in secret exaltation; in front, behind, and 
around him the crowd of men that knew and honored him, 
burning with joy and expectation, wonderful visions in 
their souls. 

In the village just outside there dwelt a family, known 
tp him from former feast days ; there he rested for the last 
time. An ass with trappings was brought out, and on it 
he proceeded. 

The capital lay hid behind great wooded hills ; but now. 



308 THE QERMAN CLASSICS 

near the bastions, the road turned round the last hill, and 
there before them lay the town, great and rich, with the 
mighty, ancient Temple in the midst, so vast that it formed 
a town in itself, with its courts and cloisters and canonries. 
He halted and looked down upon the town ; as he gazed and 
beheld the houses, the Temple, the castle, and heard the 
murmur of the great rich city rise to his ears, there was 
borne in upon him the certainty of a tragic end to come. 
The sorrow of that moment, and terror for his dear home, 
overcame him, and tears sprang to his eyes. But only for 
a moment. " It is the will of God! His wiU be done. If 
their hearts are of stone mine is of diamond. " As he turned 
to his followers his eyes looked as they had done ia the 
north when he drove from him the evil spirits of doubt. 
They saw, and a wild outburst of joy broke forth. Gar- 
ments were spread upon the way and the street was full of 
palm branches. 

' ' The kingdom of Heaven is at hand ! Help, Lord on 
high! " 
" This is the kingdom of Heaven." 
" This is the branch of the ancient royal stem." 
"A time of joy in the laud ! Help, O Lord on high! " 
Men and women ran and cried aloud for joy; children 
leapt and sang ; crowds poured out of the houses and from 
the mighty courtyards of the Temple. They had long ago 
heard from northern pilgrims of his comiug. Marvelous 
was the noise everywhere. "A time of joy in the land. 
Help, Lord! The kingdom is at hand! Help us! " 

The clericals stood by with faces white as death. Two of 
them pressed their way up to him, " Forbid this mad cry! " 
He looked at them in lofty scorn, ' ' Were they silent, the 
walls would cry out. ' ' 

The whole town was in an uproar. The governor and his 
mercenaries looked down from, the citadel in horror to this 
mighty stirring of the people. There were some who asked, 
" Who is he? Who is he? " but the masses knew. " It is 
the pure and holy hero- from the north. He says he is the 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 309 

Saviour. He says that tlie marvel is at hand, the kingdom 
of Heaven is at hand. ' ' 

There stood the vast and costly temple buildings, old and 
new ; in the courts and in the halls the gay turmoil of the 
market, oxen and calves in long rows, there a herd of sheep, 
there birds in cages, there cartloads of grapes. Imperial 
gold was exchanged for the currency of the land at the 
shining counter of the money-changer. " Give the best of 
your money and your goods, O people. Give the sweat of 
your brows ! Here ! There — God is content with you ; you 
are great in His sight. ' ' 

Poor people! what a God is this; thy priests lay upon 
thee a double poverty; they take away thy daily bread and 
they corrupt thy heart so that thou canst not see the truth. 

The man from the north knows another God; he does not 
want hands full of gold, but hearts full of courage, purity, 
and brotherly love ; not churches and feasts and crowds of 
priests, but right and justice in the land. 

The hero, the Saviour, stood in the midst of the Temple 
and raised his clear voice. The table by one of the money- 
changers overturned; the market women began to scream, 
sheep ran about, cages fell over. Terrified by his lofty 
presence and the force of his words, the sextons fled. " I 
say unto you in the name of God, ' My house shall be a 
house of prayer.' Ye murderers, ye robbers, is this your 
Hell?" 

The town was filled with wild excitement. The deed was 
monstrous. The timid flee, the heavy tramp of the soldiers 
already in their ears. The rest of the crowds from the 
north rejoice. The priests stood in impotent rage at the 
doors of their houses. The righteous and the just looked 
at him with earnest eyes and closed lips. " This means 
death for thee, thou brave and stainless one." 

The court was now empty of all worldly traffic; the 
Temple was pure. The kingdom of God established. Pure 
hearts are in unison with God, and their hands lie in their 
brothers'! The crowd pressed close to him. His soul 



310 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

exulted. ' ' I shall win them all, all ! The way is straight 
into the joyful kingdom of Heaven. I need not taste the 
bitterness of death. ..." 

But in a remote court the clericals were gathered together. 
' ' He must die. That is clear. But caution ! the stupid 
people are on his side. He must die . . . that is clear." 

For two days he was king of the midtitude, ruling in the 
courts and in the halls. The Temple was purified of worldly 
things; the feet of bearers carrying out the sick rang out 
clear on the stone flags. Raised to something almost super- 
human in these hours of spiritual elevation by the conscious- 
ness of seeking nothing for himself, doing all as the servant 
of God, he wielded a marvelous power. Children stood in 
crowds between the pillars, shouting out the cries by which 
men had summoned the Saviour of old; thousands lay at 
his feet; fresh crowds listened to his words, rapt by his 
wisdom and goodness, slaking the thirst of their famishing 
souls. For centuries the high places of the land had been 
filled by mere shadows of men, mere tools of corruption; 
never by a man genuine and pure of heart like this one. 

" How genuine he is ! how pure ! how simple ! " 

' ' Yes, the Saviour must be such a man. ' ' 

' ' A scion of the ancient kings. ' ' 

" He is not descended from a royal race." 

"Is he not?" 

* ' Then he is an impostor ! ' ' 

' ' That is not true ; look at his face ; listen to his words — 
can that be an impostor? " 

Two elders of the Church appeared in the gateway, tall 
and dignified men, and approached him. " Make way 
there. ' ' 

The crowd makes way. 

They come up to him and say, " We ask thee with what 
authority art thou come? " 

He looked at them in bitter scorn. " TeU me, had the 
hero who stood in the stream a year ago, preaching con- 
version, divine authority? or was he an impostor? " 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 311 

They dsired not say he was an impostor; the people 
knew him for a pure and true man; they shrugged their 
shoulders and went their way. Like the clang of steel there 
fell on their ears the parable of the evil tenants, " They 
killed the servants whom the householder sent, and the 
householder had one dear son . . . him also they killed. 
I say unto you, the Lord will give the vineyard imto other 
husbandmen." 

The high priests were defeated; they were far removed 
from the people, immersed in the world of books ; yet most 
of them were honorable men in the main. But now the 
black spies, the pious knaves, appea-red again; how they 
rubbed their hands; what ins.piration sparkled in their 
eyes! Inspiration, indeed. 

" Master, we know that thou art true and carest not for 
any one, for thou regardest not the person of men. . . . 
Our mind is troubled, . . . tell us, may our pious people 
pay tribute to the Emperor? . . . you know the Emperor 
is a heretic? " 

What now? If he said " No, no tribute," the imperial 
tax-collectors would seize upon him, and they would be rid 
of him so. If he said "Yes," the people would turn 
agaiust him, for the tribute was thrice hateful, because it 
was heavy, because it went to a heretic, and because it went 
out of the country. If he had been a man of low aims! 
But his ideals were of a loftier sort. " Ye hypocrites, if 
ye carry the Emperor's money in your pockets, pay him 
tribute with it. . . . Pay and trouble no more about it. 
Think of your souls ... see that they do the will of 
God." 

So they, too, went their way. 

In the evening some of the courtiers from the castle came 
to him, a strange mixture of frivolity and piety in their 
mien, such as is characteristic of such men. They had been 
discussing the events of the day at dinner and come to the 
conclusion " One must not treat so-called heroes too seri- 
ously." What did such men care for the condition of the 



312 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

people? They came, smiling with a kind of inebriated pre- 
tense of piety. * ' Master, in the old chronicles it stands, if 
a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his 
widow. Now, suppose the woman married seven brothers 
in turn, in the resurrection whose wife shall she be? " 

He answers shortly and sternly, * ' In the resurrection 
there is no marrying nor giving in marriage; they are as 
angels in Heaven. ' ' 

Then a respectable man came up to him, desiring to know, 
in one word, for the comfort of his own soul and the souls 
of all those that stood there, what was the mysterious 
source from which as from a spring this pure and wondrous 
life should come. ' ' Tell me, which is the first of all com- 
mandments? " 

The Saviour turned to him and compressed into one word 
all the hundred commandments of the Church. " Thou 
shalt love God with all thy heart and soul, and thy neighbor 
as thyself; that is righteousness. Anything else is the 
superfluous and baneful invention of men. This is the 
great and first commandment." 

The questioner's eyes shone. There were many, many 
shining eyes there. 

But many indifferent, too. ' ' My father and my grand- 
father were good men, and they contented themselves with 
the ancient precepts." 

And many doubters ! " It is a dangerous business ; who 
knows what the issue will be." 

" I have a house and a small field." 

And here and there a mocker. ' * You will not enter the 
kingdom of Heaven." " I don't want to; it's too dean." 
"A strange saint, this." All these men faltered and then 
dropped out. 

All the time the clericals were busy spying and prying. 
For two days he had preached; preached and conquered. 
What do such conquests effect? The whirligig of time 
brings round its revenges. The clericals were busy. " It 
is absurd. This the Saviour ! Is he descended from a royal 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 313 

race; is he not a craftsman from a comer of the country 
where they are all of mixed descent! and all sorts of 
strangers come pouring across the border." 

He heard the conflict ; he saw that all was lost if he could 
not conquer here. He told them it did not stand in the 
sacred hooks that the Saviour must be of royal race ; but 
words were vain ; this belief was fixed firmly in their minds. 
He had nothing to give to the animal instincts of men; 
there was nothing in his hands but godliness, purity, and 
truth, and this will not satisfy a people, not even for three 
days. 

And the angels of the Lord came not. 

They are busy compounding reason and folly, truth and 
misery, fear and blood; and gradually they conquer. He 
does not quail. More and more clearly he sees that defeat 
must come ; he only grows firmer, more unbending ; in his 
soul there grew, stronger and stronger, the mystic faith. 
" God is yet with me." He sought in the old books for all 
that could strengthen that proud faith in the midst of the 
terrors that lay roimd him like the terrible beasts of dark- 
ness. If death were to come, the books foretold resur- 
rection and return; if not ia three days, later; return with 
all the might of God ! Then the kingdom of Heaven I He 
must believe, or he could not bear the burden. Thank 
Heaven for the words of the books. 

That evening, as he left the Temple for the last time, his 
dispirited disciples looked at him with anxiety in their eyes. 
"Teacher, look at these mighty stone walls; they have 
stood for a thousand years ; wilt thou, alone, attack them? " 

Then he revealed to them the picture of the future out- 
lined by his tortured soul. 

" When I am dead then shall be bitter travail in the land. 
Again and again will the ancient foes attack the land from 
without, and false beliefs rend it within ; children will rise 
against their parents; there shall be division between 
brother and sister. And all this shall be as a sign of the 
coming of the kingdom of Heaven upon earth. The son 



314 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

of man shall come with might and glory from Heaven unto 
earth and bring to pass the kingdom of Heaven upon earth. 
Be not afraid ! Endure ! I shall return. ' ' 

And they asked him, trembling, ' ' When shall these 
things be? " 

To that he can give no answer, " It shall be in your 
lifetime. Suddenly. Be on the watch. Watch and pray! " 

And while he brooded and wrestled with his own soul — 
" Be strong! quail not — that is to betray thy Father in 
Heaven," strengthening his soul with wondrous dreams of 
the future — the clericals were busy plotting for his speedy 
destruction. 

He had the true hero 's belief in all mankind, and among 
the disciples there was one who was traitorous and weak. 
When he saw that things were going ill in the capital, the 
little faith and courage he had had deserted him, and " his 
opinions changed;" " scales seemed to fall from his eyes,'"' 
and vanity reinforced the charge. He went to the men of 
darkness. " Give me so much," he said, " and tomorrow 
night I will lead you to a place where you can capture him 
without difficulty." 

They listened to him without shame ; no one leapt to his 
feet and said, "Away with the rascal; I cannot bear to look 
upon him. " After a brief discussion they decided on doing 
the deed — today. No one came forward in his defense; 
no one cried out in his anxiety ; not one of these shadows 
had the least suspicion of what they were destroying; they 
merely stared with the stupid eyes of fishes at the golden 
crown which had fallen into their pond. All were rotten 
to the core. Among all these ghosts the appointed victim 
alone had the breath of life in his frame. 

Evening came. The behavior of the enemy and the dis- 
appearance of the scoundrel had warned the hero and his 
disciples to expect the attack that night. 

For the last time he sat down to table with his disciples. 
It was an ancient custom to keep this day as a feast, with 
all the means at the householders' disposal. He passed 



THE LAST SUPPER 



Prom the Painting by Eduard von Gebhardt 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 315 

round lamb's-flesh, broken bread, and wine in cups, while 
offering thanks in a short prayer, in which he recalled the 
gloom of past times when God had stood by them as their 
ally. 

At first he spoke with some sadness of his pleasure in hav- 
ing been permitted by his enemies to enjoy the hour of peace 
in the celebration of this ancient custom. But when the 
first wine cup went round, the horror of his imminent doom 
rose hideous before him; looking at them he said sadly, 
"I shall not drink wine with you again; but when my 
Father's kingdom comes we will drink together thus in a 
pure and blessed land." Listen! is that the soldiers' feet? 
Murmuring a grace he broke the bread, terror in his heart. 
' ' Thus it shall be with my body ; broken even thus. ' ' Once 
more the red wine flowed into the cup ; he saw his own blood 
flow, and thinking of the old alliance with God, said, ' ' T 
give my blood that God may make a new and stronger 
alliance with my people." They arose from the meal and 
went out into the night. Listen' — is that the tramp of 
soldiers in the street? 

He took the arm of his hot-headed disciple and said to 
ViiTn in a low, quick voice, * ' Listen ; I know that the devil 
will try to tempt you from my side. I have prayed God 
earnestly that thou, the bravest of all, mayst not lose thy 
faith in me and my return. If thou recoverest from thy 
terror, strengthen thy brethren." 

The hot-head boasted loudly, "I? terror? I am ready, 
now, this moment, to go with thee to imprisomnent and 
death." 

Then the hero said, " This very night, before cock crow, 
thou wilt desert me. ' ' 

His soul quailed as he went on ; the joy of the past stood 
out in bitter contrast to the sorrow of the present. " Do 
you remember how I sent ye forth, in the north? Did ye 
ever want for anything? " 

They all shook their heads. " No, never." 

" But now! Think; ye must be armed like soldiers." 



316 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

' ' Two of ns have swords. ' ' But thus they turned off on 
that false track on which he must not stray, however, and 
sorely his soul longed for safety. He broke off quickly. 
"Enough of that." 

They came into an orchard and weariness came over most 
of them. They threw themselves down on the grass and 
slept. Three of the most faithful went on with him; but 
they, too, were sorrowful and weary, and sank down. 

A feeling of utter desolation came over him and he 
begged them, " My soul is exceeding sorrowful; even unto 
death; abide with me." They lay resting on their elbows, 
sorrowful and weary, unable to say anything. His weary, 
lonely soul turned from men to the Eternal Power, " Oh, 
my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me ! 
nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." 

Then turning to his friends, " I beg ye, watch with me 
. . . thou, my faithful one, wilt thou not watch with me? " 

Again he turned from them to the Eternal, kneeling and 
praying. " If it be possible . . . not my will, but Thine. 
. . . Father, is it not possible? " 

It is not possible ; the unfathomable law of creation has 
decreed for man death and sorrow ; progress is only gained 
by the sufferings of the best among mankind. 

He knew it, and took his trembling soul in both his hands. 
" Not my will, but Thine.'' 

So he lay half the night through. And the report is true 
that he found consolation. 

Then came the clang of arms. Amid the smoke of the 
torches stood the betrayer. . . . The swords flashed. 
The disciples fled. 

They led him into the town in their midst, into the court 
of the high priest. And in the courtyard soldiers sat and 
lounged around the fire ; servants came and went ; all kinds 
of miserable wretches, dependents of the Church, had 
gathered together there by order. In the half darkness, 
at one side of the fire, a short colloquy went on, with much 
pointing of fingers. 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 317 

** Tbou wast with him." 

"I . . . what nonsense ! " 

' ' Thy speech betrayeth thee. Thou art from the north. ' ' 

' ' May I be accursed. ... I have never seen bim in 
my life." He stood there, pale as death, with trembling 
hands. The high priests went by. He slunk out ; reaching 
the gate in safety he went out into the dark street and wept 
bitterly. 

Morning comes, and the elders of the. Church assemble. 
The affair has been cunningly contrived; make him a 
political criminal and he falls into the hands of the civil 
power. ** The State is our bailiff; its justice is speedy." 
They asked him, therefore, one question only, "Are you the 
Saviour, the king of the people? " 

The hero prisoner raised his head; in those pure eyes 
there burned a light that was not of this world. " I am he ! 
and ye shall see me the Saviour, on the Almighty's right 
hand, descended upon earth in a cloud from Heaven." 
That was enough. 

Day had broken. He was handed over to the watch and 
led into the imperial office. 

The whole town was awake; crowds filled the streets. 
Many a fist was clenched; angry tears stood in many an 
eye ; but the gate closed behind him ; he was fallen into hard 
hands of fearful strength. 

He was accused before the governor as apolitical offender. 
The governor, an elderly man, had seen strange customs in 
many lands, and accommodated himself readily enough to 
them all ; like many men in high office, he had either quite 
forgotten, or never knoAvn, any respect for individual con- 
sciences. He looked at the accused before him and said, 
" You are the king of this people? " 

" You are right." 

The governor looked at him again. " He seems to me a 
harmless creature ; I shall let him go. ' ' 

But the pious rabble that stood crowded behind the 
pillars cried, " Crucify Mm, crucify him! " 



318 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

This was the imperial punishment for treason. The con- 
demned was bound or nailed hand and foot to an upright 
stake, and left to hang there till he died. Many thousands 
had perished thus. 

The most important dignitary of the Church went up and 
spoke in low tones to the governor. He was really a traitor ; 
he had a great following, especially in the north ; if he let 
the man go . . . the Emperor was said to be very sen- 
sitive on the question of treason. . . . The hint was 
imderstood. The governor's advancement came before jus- 
tice. The hero from the north was condemned as a. revolu- 
tionary and pretender by the law of the State to be scourged 
and then bound to a stake until he died. 

The blows of the scourge cut his flesh to the bone; he 
endured the extremity of physical and spiritual anguish. 
His strength was absolutely exhausted when the blows 
ceased; he could not even support the stake which he had 
to carry to the place of execution ; a man who happened to 
■ be by had to carry it for him. Two men condemned to the 
same sentence for street robbery, were led with him to the 
place of execution. 

They stripped him on the bare hillside above the town, 
laid him down and fastened him to the stake. Powerful 
hands seized him and raised him up. The soldiers offered 
him of their drink, but he did not take it ; he was too weak. 
Some of the scribes and some people in the mob mocked 
at the dying man, and the two thieves also, ** Thou art the 
king! help thyself, then!" No one knows what passed 
within him. He said no more. To the last he must have 
cherished a faint hope, that his Father in Heaven would 
spare him the crowning bitterness. But no ten thousand 
angels came. Not one came. Not one of his disciples, not 
one of his relations was there. After he had hung there a 
few hours he died of loss of blood and suffocation. 

Such was his life. 

Such was his death. 

He was the fairest of the children of men. 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 319 

The scattered disciples had fled in twos and threes to the 
north to save their lives. Arrived there, terror-stricken 
and exhausted, they began cautiously to speak of him. He 
had certainly believed, he had said to them definitely, " I 
shall return! soon! on the third day! I tell you, I shall 
return, clad in divine authority." 

Three days . . . eight . . . went by. He did not 
come. 

" He must come. He cannot lie; he cannot be mistaken. 
It is quite impossible that any grave, however deep, should 
hold such a hero. How he loved God! How he trusted 
Him! Did he not say, ' Would a mortal father give the 
child, that asked him for bread, a stone? and should the 
Almighty, Whom he trusted so, give him a stone ? ' How 
he loved us ! What a pure and gracious being he was ; how 
he uplifted our hearts. Oh, Lord, what can we do without 
thee? Return, Saviour, bring to pass the Heavenly 
Kingdom! We need thee so." 

" He must return," said the old chronicles. " He must 
return," whispered men, looking around them with yearn- 
ing eyes. * ' He must return, ' ' whispered the lake and the 
woods and the wind there where he had been only fourteen 
days ago. " I must see him again," said Peter, who had 
denied him, " or I cannot live." 

'* Listen! Did you see anything, Peter? " 

Next day the first rumor arose. In the evening Peter 
had seen him walking along the beach, where he had walked 
so often; there in the darkness he had stood, a friendly 
spirit, his eyes fixed upon him. 

The next day a new rumor spread from village to village. 
His old friends, the fishers, had been sitting on the beach 
that evening eating their supper of bread and fish round 
the coke fire. The fire blazed, the sea roared, the stars 
shone in the sky, the night folded them in her giant arms, 
and they spoke of him. " Do you remember? Then . . . 
yes, and that other time . . . what truth he had; what 
understanding . . . and how good he always was . . . 



320 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

a dear gracious being. ... Do you remember how we 
sat here . . . here on the beach ... at our evening 
meal round the fire, the fire blazing as it is now and the 
sea roaring; and he sat among us and prayed in his dear 
voice? . . . Oh, God. . . . Look, then! . . . Did you 
see? I have seen him! He stood there just behind you! " 

Another evening three of his disciples were walking in 
the darkness on a lonely road leading to the south, in deep 
converse about him ; they wandered on and on, children of 
an age where all the world was an enchanted garden and 
the night the home of mystery; the wounds of their souls 
burned, their love to the wonderful man glowed. . . . 
"And they saw him? Was it really he? He lives? He 
lives ! Where is he now? It was about this time that they 
saw him; what does he look like? Dear, they said, and 
shining . . .yes, dear and shining . . . perhaps he 
is with us, invisible . . . suddenly there comes a flash 
of light, and he stands there by the tree. . . . Did you see 
anything? Oh . . . calm your fevered heart! ..." 

They came home with burning eyes ; they had seen him. 
" He went past us in the darkness and disappeared." 

There was no stopping now. 

Since waking eyes might not behold him, the yearning 
eyes of faith, shining with passionate love, saw him. Since 
he came not in the clear light of day they saw his apparition 
in the darkness. 

Weeks went by. . . . Since he came not in his glory 
he could not hold his place as a wandering light ; the appari- 
tions faded away like mirages in a few weeks. But the 
legends of the apparitions grew, expanding what had been 
seen. 

Years went by; he never came; they still spoke of him. 
He had stirred their hearts. 

Gradually there collected among the fisher folk and the 
moor dwellers a band of believers who accepted binn as the 
Saviour and hoped daily, with glowing faith, for the day of 
his return to bring the Kingdom of Heaven. 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 321 

Years went by. The band of those who spoke of him and 
believed in his return, grew, extending as far as the capital, 
and from there, through holiday visitors, to their com- 
patriots in the great imperial city, including every country 
and every kind of superstition: Syrians and Egyptians, 
German soldiers and Greek workmen. They painted and 
decorated the story of the Saviour's life. These children 
of a wild and restless age dwelt in an enchanted world; 
when two or three were gathered together they whispered 
the legends of his life with beaming eyes. 

And so the brave and simple life became more and more 
marvelous. 

' ' I have been told by some one who heard it from one of 
the disciples that he walked upon the sea." 

" Yes, and have you heard the story of how he com- 
manded the storm? " 

" Have you heard — I was told by some one who came 
from the place — that once four thousand people followed 
him across the moors'? And he fed them all, just think, 
with seven loaves ! ' ' 

"No; there were five thousand people, and he had five 
loaves; and afterward they collected twelve baskets of 
fragments. ' ' 
" He raised a man from the dead." » 

" The greatest is that he himself rose from the dead." 
" Yes, that is certain; he appeared to all his disciples." 
" The watch over the tomb was broken up." 
" He ate and drank with them. They ate fish. ' ' 
" Once when I was at home for a feast I heard that he 
had appeared to five hundred people at once." 
" He rose up to Heaven before their eyes." 
" To Heaven? What will he do there? He is going to 
establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth." 
" Yes, he will return. He has only gone for a time." 
"Yes, indeed, he is in Heaven now; else he was still 
among us, for he certainly rose from the dead. ' ' 
Vol. xvn— 21 



322 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

All that they had desired in vain, from the son of man, 
heavenly descent, a royal lineage, supernatural marvels, 
resurrection : all this was now attributed to him by passion- 
ate love, poetic fancy, and religious longing. 

So they spoke and waited. 

One year after another passed. They prayed as he had 
taught them to their Heavenly Father, " Thy kingdom 
come ; ' ' they lived pure lives and helped one another, happy 
in their longing. 

Some of the disciples died. 

And yet he had said, " I shall return in your lifetime." 

They waited and waited. 

He did not come. 

And because he did not come as he had promised there 
was a danger that his followers might remain a narrow 
national sect ; that his life had been lived in vain and would 
be forgotten; that the salvation of humanity, the glorious 
purpose for which he had died, might be lost. There was 
a danger that this gracious tender personality nught float 
away like a perfume that is shed. 

But a man of might arose, a strange, strong man, to be 
his preserver and his herald. 

Not far from his home there dwelt a man of the same 
race, a Natienalist and clerical; a man of deep learning, 
wide and general education and experience and keen intel- 
lect. Yet he was diseased, through and through. In many 
passages in his letters to his friends he expounded the 
nature of his disease ; he was tortured by nervous attacks, 
in which life appeared a scene of misery, horror and death, 
attacks aggravated at times to epileptic fits^ during which 
he saw in a trance wondrous visions of heavenly glory and 
beauty. He was a little younger than the hero of the north 
and had never seen him. 

With some of the educated men of his time and country 
he shared a very peculiar faith; that time of disturbance 
suggested strange theories to imaginative minds. His 
belief, passionately and ardently held, was briefly as fol- 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 323 

lows : God, in the fulness of His eternal migM, wiU send 
down from the heavenly regions the Saviour, an eternal 
and heavenly being. This eternal and heavenly being, who 
had been God's right hand in the creation of the world, 
greater and more glorious than the angels of God, will con- 
ceal his heavenly majesty in a human form. As the Saviour 
he will fight the evil men and spirits that possess this wicked 
world; will conquer them or perish. At the last he will 
conquer with the aid of God and His angels and free man- 
kind from all evil. And this eternal heavenly being is 
coming soon ; it must be soon. How full my life and the 
lives of all men are of misery, sorrow and distress. It may ' 
come any day. Heavenly being ! gracious vision ! Saviour ! 
The Kingdom of Heaven ! come, come ; the world is ripe. 

When this man, holding this faith, heard that there was 
a sect in the north which maintained that the Saviour had 
already appeared on earth in the guise of a carpenter, that 
he had been denied and killed by the pious authorities of 
the Church, but had risen again and would soon return, he 
was consumed by excitement and rage. It was impossible. 
His Church had denied the holy one sent by God? The 
righteous in the land had not recognized the heavenly 
being? . . . Calling for assistance from the State he 
bunted them down and persecuted them zealously. 

But his faith gave him no peace; it was cold and mean- 
ingless ; the mere skeleton of a faith, without the flesh and 
blood of life. Sick in mind and body he longed for this life. 
' ' Lord, send the heavenly being soon ! Lord, how will he 
appear when he comes ? How will he come ? ' ' 

Pondering one day over the " false Saviour," he went 
along a lonely road, brooding in passionate aspiration. 
" Gracious and pure they say he was; unspeakably dear; 
he wanted men to be children of God ; away with the exter- 
nal forms of righteousness. . . . Yes, that is true; such 
are his people. Their trust in God is wonderful, the joyful 
sense of being His children, with which they endure all that 
I lay upon them. And they are so gentle, so friendly to 



324 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

one another. They have all, all that my poor soul yearns 
for in vain. . . . He was slain and rose from the dead 
. . . freed from this misery of flesh. . . . Their eyes 
have looked upon him . . . if it were true? Was he 
really the Saviour? . . . Oh, if he would only show him- 
self to me I If I could see him, risen, a denizen of Heaven! 
Then I should be free from the burden of my body, then I 
should stand, uplifted, free and blissful close to the knees 
of God. ... Oh, then! ..." 

And, behold! as he went on, in an agony of indecision, 
one of his physical and spiritual attacks came upon him, 
and he saw the Saviour standing in the radiant glow of 
heavenly beauty and glory. 

From this hour on he devoted himself with restless 
energy to preaching the hero. " He has appeared to me; 
he is the Saviour. ' ' And he decked the hero, the true and 
simple son of man, with all the marvelous attributes of his 
imaginative faith. He was the eternal Godhead, the great 
eternal wonder of the world. He overlaid the humble sim- 
plicity of the son of man with sevenfold brocade, glittering 
and heavy. 

The simple moor folk had known his mother and father, 
had sat at table with him, seen him in laughter and tears, 
in sickness and health; they had seen him doubtful and 
uncertain, stirred to annoyance and anger. He had walked 
with them the long sandy ways to the town; they knew 
that he was not the creator of the world, but a man like 
themselves. 

This man, his poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling, had 
never seen him; he knew little of his life, and was little 
interested in it ; he saw in him only the wonder of the world, 
dead and risen from the dead. 

He cried, "Awake! awake! God has been in the world! 
Awake! He comes ... he comes! Make haste! . . • 
tomorrow or the day after tomorrow he will come down 
from Heaven and pass judgment." 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 325 

His fiery eloquence not only persuaded the disciples and 
even the ancient followers ; it convinced others, fellow coun- 
trymen and strangers. People longed for a great and 
conquering faith to harmonize their view of the world and 
coordinate its elements. In him gifted, courageous and 
inspired by a passionate love of right, his new belief and 
love glowed like some divine frenzy. His imagination 
knew no bounds; he knew the secret plans of God, the crea- 
tion of the world, judgment to come — nothing was con- 
cealed from him. He erected a marvelous edifice of thought, 
strongly built and inter-penetrated with the fiery breath of 
love, that reached up from the foundations of Hell through 
the vaults of death, up to and even above the arch of the 
seventh heaven. 

And so the noble simplicity of the human picture dis- 
appeared. The true man, striving and fighting upward 
through pain, was distorted into the eternal wonder of the 
world. The man who passionately loved his poor people 
and died for them in spite of hopes betrayed became the 
eternal Redeemer of mankind yet to be. His words, ' ' these 
are by nature the children of God; they can do His will, 
if they will it also," were twisted to " these are corrupt 
by nature, powerless, the children of the devil; they only 
reach God by the help of a wonder. ' ' His words, ' ' Feel 
thyself the child of God! Do the will of God! Whoso 
doeth the will of God is blessed," became, " Do this; but 
only if you believe also that the Son of God has died for 
you, are you blessed." His hope "that he should soon 
return to erect the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth " became 
the belief "that he would appear again as the Eternal 
Judge of all men, living and dead. ' ' 

Only in one thing did he keep close to the pure and lofty 
son of man; like him he said that love of God and man came 
first of all. 

He preached sermons glowing with passionate love of the 
eternal, heavenly being, and of God ; and of the men whom 



326 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

he so longed to save. He endured danger and trouble, 
mockery and abuse. For all Ms strangeness, he was a 
great and noble-minded man; and his courage was heroic 
Up to the hour of his death he preached, " The Eternal 
One Cometh ! He cometh ! and judgment with him ! ' ' 
But he came not. 

He came not. 

Then the faithful accepted the conclusion that the time 
might still be far away. They took life more easily ; aban- 
doning the passionate belief that he might return every 
moment they looked forward to the calm hope, "After 
death we shall come to him and he will have mercy upon us." 

In such a creed there was room for priests once more; 
they gradually forced themselves between the " Divine 
Redeemer " and men; the old juggling with human fears 
and human indolence began again; once more the easy 
priest grew sleek and rich. It all was as it had been when 
the hero arose. They collected the old chronicles over 
which he had so brooded in his youth; they gathered 
together four wonderful accountsof his life, and the epistles 
of his great followers, and a few other doctiments dealing 
with him; and bound up all these contradictory and dis- 
cordant stories in a book, which they called " the Holy 
Writ, ' ' a book which they said, and most people believed it, 
had been written under the eyes of Grod Himself; a book 
which contained no error, admitted no contradiction. 

The faith thus twice modified was both comforting and 
attractive. It gained more and more adherents. Even the 
rich and powerful found it tolerable, and this increase in 
numbers brought the great mass of the indifferent, so that 
the faith became the fashion and was accepted as the 
religion of the State. 

Centuries passed. Priests and Synods amended and 
invented. Legends arose ; miracles, effected by old and new 
saints, were reported and recorded. Great collections of 
laws were compiled. All these reports, these legends of 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 327 

the saints, these compilations were added to the Holy Writ. 
The priests' com- was in flower; its fragrance filled the 
warm summer day far anid wide. Human ingenuity was 
constantly at work upon the andent Holy Writ, which was 
itself as much, forgotten as if they thought that no one 
would ever trouble about it again. In the end, time, human 
ingenuity and human ambition made a cold and unreal 
abstraction out of the good countryman, the brave hero 
who lived the life of a true and upright man: a man who 
cherished the pure and wonderful faith of a child, and died 
in lonely despair; an abstraction, that sat above the clouds 
ruling the world in a garment of stiff gold. Beside him 
sat his mother, almost greater than he was; his poor, foolish 
mother! around him, clad in robes of silk, bearing them- 
selves with pride and dignity, stood the wise old peasants 
who had once gone barefoot with him over the sands. 

The eternal might is perpetually at work, working among 
men as much as among the stars or on the ocean. 

So it happened that among the German people a man 
arose: a true Grerman, full of passionate sincerity and 
vigorous life, of native power and wide education. As he 
grew to manhood he sought to set his soul in its true rela- 
tion to the eternal might. He cast into the mud the mass 
of stupid contradictions with which the priests had over- 
laid the Holy Writ, and sat down to study the Holy Writ 
itself. The trumpet tones of Paul, that strange apostle, 
rang out clear and full; he heard him only. He did not 
wholly understand his frenzied vehemence ; he adapted what 
he said. He took as the kernel of his faith the words, 
" Man is just and pleasing in the sight of God through his 
faith in the death and merits of the Son of God." 

His piety and the courage with which he upheld his faith 
won for him half his countrymen. The northern part of 
Germany and the other Germanic races, in whose hands lies 
the future of the world, cast away the accursed collection 
of writings; their faith in the " Word of God," the " doc- 



328 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

trine of the Church," as they called it, gave them a time 
of satisfaction. 

It could not last ; not more than three hundred years did 
their faith hold them. 

The so-called ' ' Word of God " or " doctrine of the 
Church " was founded on an error; it was internally false 
to history and to morality, in that it taught that the simple 
hero was merely the outward appearance which concealed 
the presence in the world of an heavenly eternally existent 
being, the Son of God and the creator of the world. This 
error made the doctrine based upon it empty, hard, and 
unreal. And the more empty and hard it grew the more 
it appealed to mediocrities, and the more it was regarded 
as immutable. Narrow-minded fools finally declared " The 
word of God and Luther's teaching shall never pass away." 

And so in the course of the last two centuries the best 
minds of the nation, its greatest poets, thinkers and leaders, 
the young, the intellectual, the noble, the aspiring have 
turned away from this belief and the Church that repre- 
sented it demanding that their Church should go before the 
people with a clarion voice leading them in the lofty path 
of freedom. The churches now stood in the road like two 
old market women in their broken carts, calling out to the 
people, but it went on and left them behind. It did go on! 
Who can name them all? Frederick the Great, Goethe, 
Helmholtz ! . . . Greeting to you, our leaders ! 

The eternal might is ever busy in the thoughts of men. 

Dissatisfied with the cold repulsive teaching of the 
Church, disturbed by the workings of the eternal in their 
souls, driving them to seek out God, a hundred and fifty 
years ago German men found courage and conviction to 
investigate the Holy Writ. They wanted to see whether 
the book were really a unity and infallible, as the Church 
maintained. It was a bold undertaking, but they declared, 
" We shall examine the book like any other." 

For a hundred years a hundred good and true men of 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 329 

learning continued the investigation, and as they did so it 
became clearer and clearer that the ' ' Holy Writ ' ' con- 
tained many errors, religions and historical, and a mass of 
inconsistent beliefs : there was much that was noble in it, 
much that was bad, much that was narrow, much that was 
contradictory. It was like a garden, a wonderful, varied, 
disorderly book. The brave men pressed their way further 
and further into the garden; through the long, rank grass 
and the tall trees. Further and further they penetrated, 
anxiously and with reverent hearts, seeking for the Holy- 
land, the bourne of the human spirit. . . . Ah! listen 
. . . from the midst of the wide garden, hidden away 
in the mysterious mass of the green bushes, there came, 
soft and clear, the exquisitely pure voice of a nightingale. 
It sang with intense and penetrating sweetness, ending on 
a note of quivering pain, of the love of the Almighty and 
the divine nature of man. 

In the time of Luther there arose in many German hearts 
a new and passionate search for the word of God, a new 
love for Him; in our own day there has arisen a passionate^ 
and new love for the pure hero who was hidden away 
under so many strange disguises. It was a time of eager 
and joyful energy. For a hundred years the brave Ger- 
man scholars toiled, in spite of the scorn and contempt of 
obscurantists and the depreciation of the anxious, to try 
and break through the hedge of thorns behind which the 
hero has slept in concealment for two thousand years. 
Awake, true hero! awake! Gradually, since many good 
men and true aided- in the work and assisted one another, 
we saw his soul ; six or seven of the most important inci- 
dents in his life were established ; he stood there, a man. 

He was a man. There are proofs enough. First of all: 
He said so himself. Second: In his thought he was a 
child of his time. Third : His character is remarkable. 
Fourth: He developed. Fifth: His nature was not wholly 
free from evil. Sixth: He made mistakes; he did not 
return, and the Kingdom of Heaven did not come to pass. 



330 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

. . . He was a man. Wonderful as his goodness and 
wisdom and courage, neither in action nor in thought was 
he more than man. He was the fairest of the children 
of men. 

And his beautiful human soul has given us this : faith in 
the divine dignity and lofty worth of every human soul; 
and, derived from this, faith in the goodness and nearness 
of the unknown eternal might; and, like good fruit from 
good soil, faith in the stem and beautiful tasks of humanity 
and its lofty destiny in the Kingdom of Heaven. Thus he 
brought to light the meaning and the worth of human Ufe 
and gave it an eternal nobility. 

We leave on one side all in him that was temporary, all 
that was mistaken; his belief in spirits, his miracles, hia 
belief in his bodily resurrection and the immediacy of the 
. Kingdom of Heaven. Even his morality, lofty as it is, can- 
not bind the children of a time so different from anything 
of which he could conceive. 

We leave on one side all the doctrines which have been 
laid down from the time of Paul and the Evangelists on 
concerning God and the Saviour. 

We put away the mother of God and the Saints, the Pope 
and the Mass — away with them. God has had them judged 
and sentenced to death by German science. 

We put away the Trinity and the Pall, the eternal Son of 
God and the atonement by his blood and the resurrection of 
the body. Why should we believe such things ? They can- 
not make us happier or better. And, moreover, what have 
such things to do with belief ? They are questions of knowl- 
edge. Mistaken conceptions, German investigation has dis- 
missed them once and for all. In their time they may have 
had a validity and a use for mankind ; they may have served 
as a protecting frame for the precious picture of the 
Saviour; but they have no utility now. Away with the 
frame ! Only ignorant men or hypocrites fix their eyes on 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 331 

it now. Saviour, how beautiful is thy picture ! how simple 
and childlike thy faith ! 

Certainly thy faith had little visible basis, little outward 
success. Thy " Father in Heaven " let thee descend into 
the abyss of dark despair and had no mercy upon thee. And 
how did men treat thee? the men whose dignity thou heldst 
so high? Ah, but within thy soul had a prize beyond all 
estimation, precious in that high and lofty faith that made 
thee so joyful, set such a light in thine eyes, such strength 
and gentleness in thy heart! Thy faith made thee the 
brightest star in man's firmament. 

Therefore let the unknown eternal power be what it may, 
let it do with us what it will ; thy faith, thou fairest of the 
children of men, is our faith! And this is our faith: we 
feel and we believe that the hidden and eternal power is 
good and true and holy. We approach it with a trembling 
childlike love, we trust it, we rejoice in it, we draw close to 
it. And in this relation we find a deep and peaceful joy; it 
teaches us a reverence for our own soul and the souls of 
others, an eagerness of eye and hand in the cause of prog- 
ress, a mind ready to help others and a joyous hopefulness 
for the future of humanity. 

And this faith is ours, not because he who first 'held it 
was an eternal and wonderful being or because he had any 
such authority over us. What has authority to say in such 
questions? How can one soul be responsible for others? 
Each soul must stand alone. It is ours because it corre- 
sponds to the highest elements in the soul. All my life long 
I have asked my soul, ' ' My soul, you never cease to search 
for happiness. Tell me, then, my soul, what makes you 
calm and strong, gay and joyous? " And my soul replies, 
" The faith that the hero held. He was the true, the com- 
plete man, and therefore he discovered the true faith for 
man. Help me to hold it, eternal power, thou mysterious 
goodness, thou my Father." 

Therefore rejoice, ye school children and teachers 



332 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

throughout the land. You have still to puzzle your brains 
over the stupid knowledge that is useless and harmful and 
has nothing to do with faith ; but it wiU all come soon to the 
waste-paper basket. Rejoice, ye, too, shall rejoice in Jesus 
the carpenter, the wonderful stainless hero; ye, too, shall 
bring into your lives his lofty, childlike faith. 

Eejoioe, young manhood of the land! The Church is 
fighting against reason, the gift of God, and against the 
noble joy of hving. Here is a faith which rejoices in every 
triumph of science, which is in harmony with the lo-f ty spirit 
of Greece. 

Rejoice, scholars and artists! You have stood, shaking 
your heads over the marvel which the Church had set down 
in the centre of man's path; you went round about it, not 
knowing where to begin. Now there stands in the path a 
fearful, simple child of man looking at you with deep and 
truthful eyes. The path of mankind is lofty indeed, but 
human. 

Rejoice, preachers of both confessions, ye whose minds 
are free and lofty. Not for long shall ye be compelled to 
proclaim a senseless universe, a petty and unjust God, an 
unhistorically distorted Saviour. Instead, you may pro- 
claim with shining eyes the life, the deeds, the faith of the 
pure and true hero; and speak with prophetic eyes and 
voice of the future of mankind, leading it on to the blessed 
kingdom of God. 

Rejoice, State! The Church has used thee indeed; 
made thee her servant and her scorn; deceived and robbed 
thee. She had grown swollen with her secrets'; but Ger- 
man investigation has torn her secrets from her. Is she to 
contest the people any longer, to rule it, to hold- it back? 
Now each man can hear with his own ears the exquisite song 
of the nightingale, and interpret it after his own fashion. 

Rejoice, Christendom ! All seemed lost for thee in our 
time. Thou couldst not have conquered the world with the 
" Pope " and the " Word of God." But China, India, and 
Japan will turn to the pure hero and accept his faith. If 



THE LIFE OF JESUS 333 

they have souls like ours they will accept it, for it is adapted 
to the human heart; the heart needs it and opens out to it, 
Eejoice, my soul I Sit still a while and dream, rejoice ! 
What light has been cast into the darkness of German 
thought! If the light hurts thee, my soul, thy eyes will 
grow accustomed to it, thou bird of the day! Dost thou 
see clear now? Dost thou see the land? Dost thou rejoice? 
What a Holyland ! what a joyous future is before it ! Sit 
still a while and look around and think. . . . Now, no 
more; now arise, and go about thy work thou joyful sad one, 
thou companion of God. 




WILHELM VON POLENZ 

By Edmund von Mach, Ph.D. 

rOUNT LEO TOLSTOY once referred to Former 
Biittner by Wilhelin von Polenz as a product 
of love. Polenz loved life, loved the world, 
loved Germany, and above everything else 
his own little corner in the Lausitz in Sax- 
ony. Honest love is not always satisfied with everythiag, 
but it is so big that it can see beyond temporary and dis- 
agreeable manifestations; and so Polenz could detect the 
errors and foibles of men, and could describe them, without 
losing faith in the essential beauty of life. 

He was a keen and almost impersonal observer. A 
pleasant smile about his lips revealed his kindliness. From 
a pair of deep-set eyes, half covered by placidly drooping 
lids, he looked out upon the world with that calmness which 
betokens the man who is at peace with himself, the man 
who cannot be surprised, because the most unexpected thrag 
is after all only another revelation of eternal truth. 

Polenz was not tall, rather of medium build, well pro- 
portioned, except for the fact that his head seemed to sit 
somewhat too snugly on his shoulders. It was his head 
which at once attracted your attention and made you feel 
the importance of the man, but you could not have told 
offhand in which sphere of human activity Polenz had made 
his mark. A curious proof of the manysidedness of his 
character was given by an episode of his visit to the United 
States in 1902. An interview was arranged for him with 
the most famous educator of the country who, knowing that 
Polenz was one of Germany's big estate owners, engaged 
with him in a lively discourse on the agricultural possibili- 
ties west of the Mississippi. Himself a master of the written 

[334] 



WILHELM VON POLENZ 335 

word, he apparently did not realize until after the inter- 
view that he had met one of Grermany's best writers, one 
of her poets in prose. 

This position, however, is conceded to Polenz not only 
by the great reading public, but also by the most compe- 
tent critics. Adolf Bartels, the editor of Polenz' Collected 
Works, recognizes only two contemporaries of Polenz as 
his equals, the lyric poet Detlev von LUiencron and the 
dramatist Gerhart Hauptmann. 

Polenz was born in January, 1861, in Castle Ober- 
Cunewalde in Upper-Lausitz in Saxony, and received in 
baptism the names Wilhelm Christian Wolf, of which, how- 
ever, he used through life only the first name, Wilhelm. 
His father was a chamberlain of the king of Saxony and 
enjoyed other aristocratic prerogatives. In the educa- 
tion of his children, however, he was thoroughly demo- 
cratic. When Wilhelm was ten years of age he was sent 
to board with a Protestant minister who gave him his 
first instruction. Four years later he entered the Gifm- 
nasium in Dresden and remained there untU graduation. 
He passed all his examinations, but did not like the kind 
of instruction given him, and therefore spent much of his 
leisure time in outside reading. Dickens, Turgenieff, Daudet, 
Dahn, Ebers, and Wildenbruch are said to have been his 
favorite authors. The seeming catholicity of this list indi- 
cates no uncommon turn of mind, because to German boys 
the great foreign authors are as accessible as their own 
writers, thanks to excellent translations and the absence 
of narrow-mindedness in the choice of books for the school 
libraries. Every large German school has its own library 
of fiction, carefully selected, which makes it easy for the 
boys to become familiar with the best literature, not only 
of Germany but also of other countries. 

After Polenz had graduated from the Gymnasium, he 
served one year in the army, and then went to Breslau 
University to study law. Following the German custom 
he did not remain in this one law school three or four years, 



336 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

as is done in. America, but went from Breslau to Berlin 
and from there to Leipzig. In the meanwhile his facility 
with the pen, which had made him write several youthful 
plays while still in Dresden, and his innate love of literature 
suggested to him more and more forcibly that "he cut loose 
from the gentlemanly career of a government official for 
which his law-studies were preparing him, and launch forth 
on the less secure sea of authorship. His family, however, 
were opposed to his wishes, and instead of forcing the 
issue, Polenz contented himself with attending, in addition 
to his courses in law, as great a variety of other lectures 
as his time permitted. Since he was naturally open- 
minded, the extent of his studies quickly made him give up 
the last vestiges of a dogmatic outlook on life, and 
broadened and deepened his general education beyond that 
enjoyed by most authors. 

After passing his law examinations Polenz returned to 
Dresden to spend the required time in the law courts of 
the capital. Here, however, he fell in love with a young 
English lady, whom he married. In her judgment he had 
great confidence, and she removed his last doubt in his 
own literary ability. Since he was sure now that it was 
something more than youthful dissatisfaction with a strictly 
regulated career which made him wish for a change, 
he resigned his office, and made writing his life's work. 
Mrs. von Polenz was wealthy, and the young author could 
embark upon his new career without tasting the hardships 
of life, or being humbly dependent on his father. 

He went to Berlin, and in his twenty-ninth year published 
his first large novel in two volumes. Die Suhne (" The 
Atonement "). It was well received, and at once singled 
him out as a serious writer in command of a distinctly 
vigorous but pleasantly simple style. The subject of the 
book was not unusual. Two people love each other, ap- 
parently in accordance with the decree of fate. Fate, 
however, has arranged matters badly, for the girl had 
married another man before her true mate put in his 




WILHELM VON POLENZ 



WILHELM VON POLENZ 337 

appearance. The story runs its course, as all such stories 
will, and the lovers pay the penalty for a brief moment of 
happiness. Similar tales had often been told, but few had 
abounded in such exquisite character sketches, or made 
us feel that we stand, in spite of our sympathy with these 
puppets of fate, on the side of those who condemn the 
standards of this boy and girl. 

In Berlin Polenz came into close relations with Moritz 
von Egidy, the leader of the Grerman ethical culture move- 
ment, and he became deeply interested in Egidy 's efforts 
to convert Germany to a healthier and more useful Chris- 
tianity than the existing churches offered. He also met all 
the young German writers who in their search after new 
gods neglected the good traditions of the older schools. 
A less discerning man might have irretrievably attached 
himself either to the few dogmatic conservatists or to the 
revolutionary iconoclasts. Polenz, however, saw in both 
only the natural, though contrasting, manifestations of a 
truth which is so big that it can never find complete expres- 
sion in any one way. He also soon realized the danger 
besetting the writer who wishes to be true to life but who 
has no other pursuit than that of writing. If one never 
meets people in a natural way, and if their doings never 
affect one as man to man, one's vision is apt to grow dis- 
torted; moreover, if one wishes to do one thing well one 
should have other interests besides. For Polenz the 
natural additional interest was farming, for he had been 
born in the country and his ancestors had been landed 
proprietors through centuries. He, therefore, bought the 
country estate Lauba, and later moved to his old ancestral 
home Ober-Cunewalde, where he engaged actively in agri- 
culture on a large scale until he died, on November 13, 1903, 
from the effects of an operation. 

In the winter months, however, and on frequent other 
occasions he visited the centres of culture and traveled 
much, his last journey in 1902 taking him to North 
America. The results of this trip he published in his book 

Vol. XVII — 22 



338 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The Land of the Future, which reveals him as a keen and 
accurate observer, and a careful chooser of what is worth 
while in the information gathered from others. 

The Land of the Future was his last book. It appeared 
thirteen years after his first publication and marked the 
close of a singularly active career, for in these thirteen 
years Polenz had published eighteen books. One more 
partly finished novel and a book of poems were published 
after his death by his brother. 

Adolf Bartels divides the literary work of Wilhelm von 
Polenz into two great periods, from 1890 to 1898, with a 
distinctly German and somewhat personal flavor, and from 
1899 to his death, when his books struck a more universal 
note. 

Of the twelve works of his first period three novels 
stand out prominently: The Pastor of Breitendorf (1893), 
Farmer Buttner (1895), and The Lord of Grabenhagen 
(1897). Polenz describes in them separately the three 
forces for good or evil in a German country community, 
the pastor, the independent farmer, and the lord of the 
manorhouse. The scene is laid in all alike in that beautiful 
corner of Saxony where Polenz was born and where he 
lived his active and observant life. Freshness, strength, 
and finesse respectively have been claimed as the character- 
istics of these books, but this is only partly true, for Polenz 
wrote each scene in the style most expressive of his char- 
acters. In Farmer Buttner, therefore, where rugged 
farmers play the prominent part, strength prevails, but 
the picture of the Count of Saland is done with as much 
finesse as anything in The Lord of Grabenhagen. Tolstoy, 
who admired Polenz, used to speak: of his " beautiful Ger- 
man," and undoubtedly had reference to the adequacy of 
his style. Polenz never wrote anything simply for outward 
effect or socalled charm of language, for he was a scru- 
pulous observer of the dictates of what is called inner 
form. His style as well as his idea is appropriate to the 
material facts with which he is dealing. The gripping 



WILHELM VON POLENZ 339 

intensity of Farmer Buttner is not entirely due to the 
author's true conception, but in large part to his singularly 
appropriate style, for it attunes the reader to the reality 
of the surroundings in which the old farmer lived. Many 
early painters knew how to reproduce the human form, 
but their men and women were wooden and lifeless, because 
they painted them without the envelope of air; and only in 
air men live. The linear perspective of these painters was 
^ood, but until the artists had learned the principles of 
aerial perspective, portraits of life were impossible. 
Polenz' aerial perspective is good, which accounts for the 
life of his characters. 

In addition to his three great novels, Polenz published 
two others and several collections of short stories, and 
three dramas between 1890 and 1898. His first book, The 
Atonement, was followed by Temptation in 1891 which, like 
the two dramas Prussian Men and Heinrich von Kleist 
published in the same year, probably had been written, at 
least in part, before The Atonement. The critics have seen 
the influence of Guy de Maupassant not only in Tempta- 
tion, but also in Innocence and Other Stories published in 
1892. Karline, Short Stories and Poems (1894) contains 
studies of a moral nature not unlike the Gustav and Pauline 
episode in Farmer Buttner (1895). The same general note 
is struck, although more frequently tinged with religion, 
in Purity, another collection of short stories published in 
1896. Two years later Polenz wrote Andreas Bockholdt, 
a tragedy of tremendous force, which, however, did not 
find favor with theatrical managers. Adolf Bartels tells 
us that Polenz felt deeply this neglect of what he knew to 
be a masterpiece. He could not understand it, but accepted 
it as another manifestation of the incalculability of the 
stage. In the same year (l898) he published the last short 
story of his first period : The Forest, in which he returned 
to the subject treated in his first book The Atonement. 
The Forest is chiefly noted for its wonderful atmosphere, 
or as one reviewer put it : " You can actually smell the 
trees in the woods." 



340 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Although the brief second period of Polenz' activity 
contained only four years, from 1899 to his death in 1905, 
and one of these years, 1902, was largely spent in America, 
Polenz published six books : The Watch Tower {Lug in's 
Land, 1901) a collection of short stories descriptive of life 
in his more immediate neighborhood; Master and Servant 
{Junker und Froner, 1901), a village tragedy of the eigh- 
teenth century; his book on America, and three important 
novels. The first, Thekla Ludekind (1899), is concerned, 
with the woman question, the second. Love is Eternal 
(1901), portrays the peculiar conditions under which artis- 
tic temperaments exist, and the third. Loose at the Roots 
{Wursellocker, 1902), reveals the life of several writers. 

Two of his books were published posthumously. Harvest 
Time, a collection of poems (1904), edited by his brother, 
and the novel Happy People, which was completed in 
design, although several chapters had remained unfinished. 

Adolf Bartels, the friend and editor of Wilhehn von 
Polenz, believes that the underlying motive of all the writ- 
ings of Polenz was his deep desire to help his people find 
the proper way through life. If this is so, Polenz was wise 
in disguising his purpose. Not one of his books points 
an obvious moral, while all — especially his great novels — 
teach a better life only by giving the reader a deeper 
insight into life. The more men know, not only with their 
heads but also with their hearts, the straighter they will 
walk. 

The wealth of characters, taken from every sphere of 
life, that pass through the pages of Polenz' books is enor- 
mous, but all are intensely and lovingly observed. In no 
instance, moreover, was Polenz blinded by his study of 
detail, nor did he forget that truth is bigger than any 
individual. He never lost his grip on essentials, and the 
final words of his last book are singularly descriptive of 
his own character, for he too ' ' had turned his face to the 
sun and sent his soul to search eternity." 



WILHELM VON POLENZ 




FARMER BUTTNER 

THANSLATED AND ABRIDGED BY EDMUND VON MACH, PH.D. 

I 

AEMEE TRAUGOTT BUTTNEE was going 
to church with his two sons. Three fine look- 
ing men they were. The farmer himself was 
in the sixties, tall and spare, clean shaven, 
of ruddy complexion and sandy hair turning 
gray, which he wore very long, as used to be the fashion. 
He was shod in heavy boots and walked with the swagger 
and unconcern which betokened the owner of the largest 
farm in the village. His strong, somewhat angular frame, 
which reminded one of a gnarled oak, was forced into a 
dark blue coat with long skirts. The tight sleeves pre- 
vented any freedom of motion, but, then, this was the same 
coat in which the farmer had been married, more than 
thirty years ago. He was not in the least troubled about 
the coat having grown too tight for his chest and shoulders. 
On the contrary, the resulting restraint was an excellent 
concomitant of that measured solemnity which seems to go 
with Sunday morning. On his long straight hair he had 
placed a silk hat which had not grown smooth with age, 
for it offered a rather ruffed-up appearance. 

The farmer was walking between his two sons, Karl and 
Gustav. 

Karl, the older, was as tall as his father, but carried 
more flesh than the latter. He, too, was clean shaven, as 
all thorough-going country folk are. His eyes were large, 
somewhat sleepy, and his cheeks full and rosy, which made 
him look like a big, kind-hearted boy. His powerful hands, 

[341] 



342 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

however, would have quickly quenched any desire to fool 
with him. Today he carried a thick hymnal in his hand, 
as did his father, and like him he was dressed in a long 
frock-coat, which is the proper garb for church. On his 
roun^ head he wore a silk hat with a very broad brim. In 
short, Karl Biittner was the well-fed counterpart of Trau- 
gott Biittner, except that he was his junior by thirty years. 

Gustav was very different from these two. He was a 
petty officer in a cavalry regiment. Possibly it was due 
to his smart uniform that his figure appeared lithe, and he 
himself quick and attractive. The contrast with his two 
stolid companions was greatly to his advantage. He was 
somewhat smaller than his father or his brother, rather 
sinewy and well built, and had a frank and most pleasing 
expression. Gustav moved along with conscious grace, fuUy 
aware of his good looks and the attention he was sure to 
receive from all the church-goers of Halbenau on this 
day. Frequently his gloved hand moved toward his blond 
moustache as if to make sure that the most important of 
all manly distinctions was still in its place. He had not 
been seen at home before this, with lace on his coat, for 
during this Easter visit he was showing himself for the 
first time to his friends as a petty officer of cavalry. 

There was practically no conversation on the way to 
church. Only now and then an acquaintance nodded his 
head. It was Easter Sunday, and every one in Halbenau 
was astir. In the little gardens to the right and left of the 
village street, the first primroses were blooming, also nar- 
cissus and hepatica. 

In church, farmer Biittner and his sons sat down in their 
old family seats in the first gallery near the pulpit. The 
Biittners had been among the original farmers of Halbenau. 

During the singing and the lengthy organ interlude which 
gave one a good chance at introspection, Gustav looked 
about the little church. He knew every face he saw. Here 
and there he missed one or the other of the older people, 
whom death, he assumed, had called away. 



PARMEE BUTTNER 343 

Occasionally he even glanced to the aisle below, where 
the women were seated, but their gay headgear, caps and 
hats, made it difficult to recognize their faces at once. 
There were several girls or young married women with 
whom he had gone to school, or whose acquaintance he had 
made in the dance hall. 

Until now, Gustav Biittner had carefuUy avoided looking 
at one definite spot in this section, for he knew a girl was 
sitting there who was sure to watch him, if she was in church 
at all. For nothing in the world, would he have wished 
to appear as if that interested him in the least. If he 
wanted to look where she had her seat, he had to turn his 
head sharply to the left, for she sat to one side of him, 
almost under the gallery. He controlled himself untU the 
minister had given out his text; then he could stand it no 
longer; he had to know whether Pauline Katschner was in 
church. 

He leaned slightly forward, anxious to be as little noticed 
as possible. There she was ! And of course, at that very 
moment, she too had looked up at him. 

Gustav blushed, and this annoyed him. It was too stupid ! 
What business had he to trouble about the girl? What 
was she to him now? If one were to feel interest in every 
woman with whom one had had an affair, one might as well 
give up one's future. And above everything, Pauline 
Katschner ! — He could not afford to show himself in town 
in company with such a girl. They would unmercifully 
laugh at him in the barracks, if he should appear with her 
there. She was not much better than a servant girl. Week 
days perhaps she even went about barefooted and in short 
skirts ! 

He assumed a haughty air, silently comparing his former 
sweetheart with the " ladies " whose acquaintance he had 
made in the restaurants and on the promenades of the pro- 
vincial capital. In town, God knew, the simplest maid had 
better manners than any or all of the girls in his village. 
He heartily despised Pauline Katschner. 



344 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

And once this girl down there had been everything to 
him! — 

Suddenly he remembered his parting from her, when he 
had been obliged to leave home as a recruit. Then, as they 
kissed each other for the last time, both had thought their 
hearts would break. And again, when he had returned 
on furlough after having been away one year! What had 
he not done then from sheer happiuess! And the girl! 
They had acted like people bereft of their reason, "What 
had he not promised then, what assurances had he not 
given her I 

He tried to drive these thoughts out of his head. He had 
been such a simpleton at that time, such a terrible fool! 
No one could keep what he had then promised. It was not 
binding. And more, she herseE had not been faithful to 
him. The boy! what concern of his was he? Who could 
prove that it was his child! He had been away so very 
long. 

Well, he had done with the girl! Let the people say 
whatever they wished. He did not care, if she complained, 
or wrote him cordial birthday letters, or sent him New 
Years cards! Such things could not move him. It was 
foolish. The ladies he knew in town were of another class, 
real ladies, who spoke weU and who could waltz. What had 
he to do with Pauline Katschner, whose father had been a 
poverty stricken country laborer! 

In the meanwhile the minister had begun to preach, and 
Gustav was trying to follow his words. He had not been 
entirely spoiled in the city, and had always been of those 
exceptional fellows among his comrades, who did not re- 
gard their obligatory presence at church as a fine oppor- 
tunity for taking a nap. At home also, he had been accus- 
tomed to strict discipline in such matters. The old farmer 
set his family a good example, for there was hardly a Sun- 
day when he was not in his seat in church, and he missed 
not a word of the sermon. He even still joined in the sing- 
ing, albeit his voice had grown rather thin with age. Karl, 



FARMER BUTTNER 345 

on the other hand, who was somewhat given to indolence, 
could not be kept from his nap in church, and soon after 
the minister had concluded the first part of the three 
enumerated divisions of his sermon Gustav noticed that his 
brother was peacefully sleeping. 

When the service was over, the men gathered about the 
church door and remained there for some time. Farmer 
Biittner was pleased to notice the general attention given 
to his boy Gustav. Old men and young men surrounded 
the youthful officer, whose uniform recalled to many the 
years of their own service in the army, and to the older 
men even their experiences in the war. Farmer Biittner 
himself wore the medals of the last two campaigns, and 
even Karl had served his three years in the army, but no 
other Biittner had ever received a commission. 

Gustav had to answer many questions. Had he not 
about enough of it, and when would he return to Halbenau, 
he was asked. He replied, with that self-consciousness 
which the uniform gives to the common people, that he was 
still too well pleased with his life in the army to think of 
exchanging his sword for the pitchfork. 

Two women advanced in the direction of the men, an 
older one with a gay shawl over her head, and a younger 
one in a black hat on which there were some bright pink 
flowers. Gustav had recognized this hat from the gallery. 
Years ago, when he was friendly with Pauline Katschner, 
he had bought her this hat in town, and given it to her 
when he had come home on a visit. — The older woman was 
the widow Katschner, Pauline's mother. 

" Howdy, Gustav," said Mrs. Katschner, " How do you 
do? " he replied, frowning and without giving her his hand. 
The girl had dropped her head; she was blushing and look- 
ing at her hymnal. " "Well, Gustav, you are back again in 
Halbenau? " the widow said and laughed to hide her 
embarrassment. "Yes," Gustav replied frostily, and 
turned to a young fellow with an unimportant remark. 

The women hesitated a few minutes, probably expecting 



346 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

to be addressed by him. Then the girl, who seemed to be 
on the verge of tears, drew her mother away. " Come 
along, ma, let 's be gone — ' ' Then the two women left. 

" You don't seem to know her any more," one of the 
feUows mockingly remarked to the young officer. And he 
shrugged his shoulders and rocked his body, and tried to 
look as unconcerned as could be. 

Gradually the men began to move off, ten or twelve young 
fellows, school friends of Gustav, going together. In the 
inn they had a glass of beer, standing, and lighted their 
cigars, then they proceeded along the village street. One 
after the other they entered their houses, for it was dinner 
time. They agreed, however, to meet again in the dance 
hall toward evening. 

The Biittner farm was situated at the extreme end of the 
village. The farmer and Karl had gone ahead, Gustav was 
just turning into an alley which offered a short cut home, 
when he heard his name called. 

He turned. Pauline Katschner was only a few steps 
behind him. She was out of breath from having run fast. 

At first he assumed a forbidding air, and gruffly asked 
what she wanted. " Gustav," she cried and stretched out 
her hand to him, " don't act like this! You are behaving 
as if you did not know me any more." 

" I have no time," he said, and turned as if he wished to 
pass her. 

But she stepped in his way. " Don't, Gustav," she said, 
" don't treat me like this." She stood before him with 
heaving breast, and looked straight into his eyes. He could 
not stand her glance, and looked away. 

Then she took his hand saying, " You might at least have 
shaken hands with me." 

This was no way of doing things, he replied, to follow 
him, and to address him in broad daylight. She should 
take herself away. He tried hard to appear exasperated 
with her. 

Pauline did not seem to be afraid of him, for she stood 



FAEMER BUTTNER 347 

close in front of him where with one movement of his arm 
he could have brushed her aside. But he did not raise his 
hand. 

' ' Days and years have passed, Gustav, since we last saw 
each other, and you have replied to none of my many letters. 
You are really acting as if I were a bad girl, Gustav ! " — 
Her eyes suddenly filled with tears. 

Tears! That would have been the limit! He hated 
women's tears. But then he was already half won, just 
by seeing her and hearing her familiar voice. What mem- 
ories did not her face recall to him ! He had been so happy 
with her, happier than with any other, and had she not been 
his first love ! This gave him a peculiar feeling, a kind of 
homesickness and gratitude for all her goodness to him. — 
That she had to cry just now, was hard. He saw himself 
as a wicked and cruel man, and was annoyed. He feared 
it would be difficult to get rid of this girl again. 

She wiped her tears with a corner of her black apron and 
asked, " What have you against me, Gustav? Do tell me, 
just teU me what makes you act like this ! ' ' 

He chewed on his moustache and was glum. It would 
have been easy to tell her point blank that she had had an 
affair with some one else in the meanwhile. But at this 
moment and under the steady gaze of her faithful eyes he 
suddenly saw how shallow his suspicion had been. Really, 
he had never fully believed the story which others had told 
him. It had been for him only a welcome pretext to get 
rid of her. 

Now, as she stood before him, a head shorter than he, 
fresh and healthy, like an apple, with her kind big eyes, 
and her snow-white teeth, he was again under her spell. 

"I have had to be so angry with you," she whispered 
and swallowed hard. , She always cried easily. Between 
tears she knew how to look at him tenderly and coaxingly 
like a tame dove. Nobody had taught this girl these tricks, 
but the cleverest coquette had no more efficacious means of 
winning the heart of a man than had this simple child of 
nature. 



348 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Suddenly she dropped her head, her cheeks flaming, and 
asked in a still lower tone: " Don't you want to look at 
your boy at all, Gustav? He is almost a year old." 

The young man hesitated, deeply moved. He fully knew 
that this moment would determine everything. K he did 
as she wished and went with her to look at the boy, then 
he confessed himself to be his father. Until now he had 
not done so, fortifying himself behind the excuse that one 
could not really know whose it was. 

Pauline had raised her head and her eyes conveyed her 
request. Then she said, and her voice was sweet and girl- 
ish : "I have told the boy so much of you. He cannot yet 
speak, but ' papa ' he can say. — Come on, Gustav; do at 
least look at him! " 

She took his hand and drew him in the direction she 
wished him to go. " Come, Gustav, come with me," she 
coaxed while he still hesitated. 

At last he followed her. And then he was angry with 
himself for having yielded. He did not understand him- 
self. There was no more daring horseman among aU the 
subalterns of his garrison. He loved to train young horses, 
and yet he could be so soft, that his sergeant major once 
had called him a ' ' milksop. ' ' That had been when his 
chestnut bay had developed a spavin and had to be shot. 
Then he had wept like a child. 

Pauline, it seemed, knew how to reach him. She could 
appear as if she did not notice anything, when she wished. 
She acted as if there never had been an estrangement be- 
tween them. She uttered not another word of reproach, 
for she was more than anxious to keep him in good humor. 
Her aim was to give him no time to recollect himself. She 
spoke of her mother and of her boy, and told him many 
jolly things, and thus brought him to her door, before he 
really knew that he was going with her. 

Pauline lived with her mother, the widow Katschner, in 
a thatched cottage, one of the smallest and most insignifi- 
cant dwellings of the village. There was only enough land 



FARMEE BUTTNER 349 

for a garden, not enough to live on and too mucli on which 
to die outright. The two women earned a pittance with 
their handiwork. Pauline used to work at the manor house, 
but had not done so of late. 

Pauline had her own little room in the rear of the house. 
Every step here recalled vivid memories to Gustav. By 
this low door, through which he could not pass without 
stooping, he had entered, when she first had admitted him 
to her chamber on a hot July night. And how often had 
he not come and gone since ! By day and by night before 
he entered the army, and even after that when he was 
at home on furlough. 

Few changes had been made in the little room during the 
past year. Everything was scrupulously clean and orderly, 
and there was a definite place for everything. Here stood 
her bed, the wardrobe was close by, and next to this the 
chest of drawers. The mirror, with a crack in the lower 
left hand corner hidden by a New Year's card, hung in its 
accustomed place. 

Gustav's eyes took in everything almost involuntarily, 
but they failed to find what they sought. Pauline followed 
his looks and smiled. She knew for what he was looking. 

She stepped to her bed and petted down her fluffy pil- 
lows. Close to the head board, almost lost in the featherbed 
there lay something round and dark. 

She beckoned to him with her eyes to approach, and he 
understood that the boy was asleep. CarefuUy he raised 
his sword from the ground and tried to step softly. 
" There he is! " she whispered, and smiled happily while 
she smoothed the pillow on which the head of the little 
fellow was resting. 

The young man stood before his boy and was embar- 
rassed. The sight took away his breatt. He had not even 
had time to remove his helmet, and hardly dared to look 
at the baby. This then was his son. He had a child! — 
The thought was rather oppressive, benumbing. He felt 
restrained by a sense of strange responsibility. 



350 THE (JEEMAN CLASSICS 

She came to his assistance, relieving him first of his 
hehnet, and then gently raising the boy from his piUow. 
She herself guided his big hand that he might touch his 
own flesh and blood. Finally she nestled close to him, and 
asked how he liked the child. 

He did not reply, for he stood helpless and astonished 
before his offspring. 

Suddenly a smile chased across the baby's face and he 
moved his tiny fingers, still fast asleep. And not till then 
did the father realize that this little bundle was really a 
living thing. This thought touched him to the quick. — 
Such a little thing with such a tiny body was alive and 
would be a man some day — his son! Pauline and he had 
given him life; this new creature was part of their own 
flesh! The eternal miracle of creation in its fullest sig- 
nificance flashed across his mind. 

Gustav felt the tears rising to his eyes. He swallowed 
hard, and blew his nose. He gritted his teeth and mastered 
his emotion, for he would not have wept here for anything 
in the world. 

Pauline, in the meanwhile, was busying herself about the 
room. She had taken off her black hat with the pink 
flowers, had roUed up her sleeves, and put on a white apron. 
She was even prettier without her hat, for her singularly 
beautiful blond hair showed to its best advantage. She 
wore it parted in the middle, as is customary with country 
girls, and had gathered it into a veritable nest of little 
braids on the back of her head. Her black dress was the 
same dress in which she had gone to her first communion, 
and only by letting out its seams and adding a bit at the 
bottom had she managed to have it still fit her well de- 
veloped womanly form. 

At last she tripp'ed back to the bed, saying the boy had 
slept enough, he needed his bottle. She awakened him 
by gently raising him and kissing him on his forehead. 
The child opened a pair of big dark eyes, looked about 
greatly astonished, and immediately began to cry. The 



FARMER BUTTNEE 351 

father, who was unfamiliar with such sounds, looked 
greatly perplexed. 

Pauline, however, told him that this did not mean much. 
The child was hungry. She took a tin can from the 
chimney cupboard. The little room had no stove of its 
own, but only a chimney which was heated from the next 
room. In the can there was a little bottle of milk. Pauline 
who had the child in her arms raised the bottle to her lips, 
tasted the milk, and quickly attached a rubber nipple. 
Then she put the boy, who with looks and hands was eagerly 
asking for his well-known bottle, back on the bed. Finally 
she placed the nipple between his lips, whereupon his crying 
ceased, giving place to a comfortable gurgling sound. 

Oustav drew a breath of relief. The incident had made 
him feel uneasy, and while Pauline was proudly happy, he 
could not avoid a sense of oppression. The girl stooped 
over her baby who was giving his whole strength and 
attention to his food, and arranged his pillows with that 
tenderness which only a mother can show. 

When her boy was at last thoroughly at ease, the thought 
of Gustav reentered her miud. She dusted a chair for him 
with her apron and asked him to sit down. He had not yet 
said one word about the boy. Now she urged him to 
express himself. 

He thought the boy seemed to be strong and healthy. 
But this did not satisfy her motherly pride, and she, in her 
turn, began to sing the baby's praises. Was he not re- 
markably well formed and big? She even maintained that 
he was marvelously intelligent, and cited as a proof, several 
of his little tricks. He was big for his age, and had been 
a giant even at birth. He had made her suffer much when 
he arrived, she added under her breath, lowering her head. 
Then she related that she had nursed him herself until he 
was six months old. 

Gustav only half listened to these stories which were of 
such importance to her, for he had his own thoughts. What 
was to be done now? He had confessed himself the father 



352 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

of this child. Since he was a decent fellow, he would have 
to assume its care. He had always despised those fellows 
who desert girls and children for whom they are respon- 
sible. Once he had even promised Pauline that he would 
marry her. When he looked at her, taking care of every- 
thing, neatly and capably, and always pleasant and cheer- 
ful, the thought of marrying her was rather agreeable to 
him, for did he not know that she was a thoroughly good 
girl! 

But why marry at all ! He recollected the misery of most 
of the households of married subalterns. The very thought 
was enough to make him shiver. 

And there was another difficulty. He would have to break 
with several ' ' ladies ' ' in his garrison. All these consider- 
ations gave him a headache. 

Then Pauline began to speak of her own affairs, and 
how sad and lonely the last winter had been. Her mother 
had been sick in bed for weeks, they had had no money, 
and no man near to help them. The care of her child had 
prevented her from doing much else. To cap the climax 
Gustav had no longer written her ; and now she asked again 
what had been the matter with him. He avoided a reply 
and asked instead why she no longer went to work at the 
manor house. 

There had been a good reason, she said, and then with 
lowered voice, as if she feared the child might understand 
her, she explained, that the young gentleman there had 
wanted to take liberties with her. For this reason she had 
decided to stay away from there, although she could ill 
afford to do without her wages. 

Gustav pricked up his ears. This was the very story of 
which he wanted to know more details, for he had been told 
suspicious rumors coupling her name with that of the 
young gentleman. What had happened, he asked, how far 
had matters gone 1 

Pauline was deeply moved when these things were men- 
tioned. She did not mince her words in relating the 



FAEMEE BUTTNEK 353 

offensive behavior of the man who had tried to take advan- 
tage of her position. Her looks said more than her words, 
and everything proved to Gustav beyond a doubt that she 
had remained faithful to him. 

Gustav let her feel how glad he was that these stories 
had been baseless, and she learned for the first time that 
he had known of them. This then was the explanation of 
his disapproval of her. But who could have carried the 
slander to him? 

He only said that " people " had spoken to him about it, 
and did not reveal to her that the aspersions had come 
from his own family, who had never looked with favor on 
his relations with Pauline. 

Pauline took the whole affair much to heart. She was 
grieved that he should have suspected her for so long, 
without speaking to her about it. ^he suddenly grew very 
silent, for she felt the injustice and humiliation of his 
attitude toward her as women are apt to feel such things, 
deeply. Quietly and without looking at him she busied 
herself in the back of the room. 

He did not feel easy either, for he knew too well how 
much he had sinned against her. He was embarrassed and 
studied the tips of his boots. 

There was a pause in which one could distinctly hear the 
regular breathing of the child who had finished his bottle. 

Suddenly Pauline walked to the bed, and taking the boy 
from the pillows said, " But you haven't had the boy in 
your arms at all, Gustav," and with these words she held 
the baby out to him. 

He took the child as he would have taken a bundle, while 
the boy fixed a vacant stare, as babies do, on the glistening 
lace on his father's collar. 

" He has also been baptized," Pauline added. " I wrote 
you at the time, but you sent him no gift. The minister 
was angry at first, and scolded much, that such a thing had 
happened to me." 

Vol. XVn — 23 



354 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

In the meanwhile, Gustav had settled matters with him- 
self. He would recognize both the mother and the child. 

The baby reached with his hand for his father-'s mous- 
tache, but Pauline gently pushed his little hand aside. 
" Everybody says he looks just like you, Gustav; your 
very image." 

For the first time, the young father smiled at his counter- 
part. Pauline had taken his arm, and her looks moved 
happily from Gustav to her boy. This little rascal had at 
last taken hold of his father's moustache and gave a shriek 
of joy. 

They were the picture of a happy family. 

II 

Gusta,v Biittner reached home much too late for dinner. 
The family had finished some time before. The old farmer 
in shirt sleeves sat in his corner snoozing, while Karl was 
smoking his pipe — he really let it go out only during meal 
times. The women were busy clearing the table and wash- 
ing the dishes. 

Gustav 's mother expressed her surprise that he had 
stayed so late, for it had not been his custom, she said, to 
frequent the inn on Sunday mornings. Gustav accepted 
this reproof with good grace. It was not necessary for 
his family to know what had happened. 

He took his seat silently on the wooden bench before the 
big square family table. Then he unbuttoned his army 
coat to make room for his food, while his mother brought 
the dishes from the hot closet. 

She was an easy going woman, in her fifties. Her face 
might have been very pretty in her youth, but since then 
she had developed a double chin and lost several of her 
teeth. She looked amiable and kind-hearted. Gustav 
resembled her more than any of the other children. Her 
movements were slow and rather stiff and awkward. 
Rheumatism, the greatest evil of country folk, often 
troubled her. 



FARMEE BUTTNEE 355 

One of her daughters offered to assist her, but she 
wanted to have the pleasure of serving her boy herself. 
The young officer was her favorite child. Placing a covered 
dish on the table and standing before him, arms akimbo, 
she said smilingly: "Well, Gus, attention!" Then she 
raised the cover, and there were pork and dumplings with 
stewed pears. " Your favorit,e dish," she laughed at him, 
nor did she take her eyes from him as he helped himself 
liberally. The loving mother seemed to relish every mouth- 
ful her darling ate. They did not speak. You could have 
heard his tin spoon strike against the earthen dish, for 
Gustav did not trouble with a plate. The old farmer was 
snoring in his comer, and Karl was on the best way to 
follow suit, in spite of his pipe. In another corner of the 
room, where the huge stove stood and the broad bench in 
its cosy recess, the younger women were busy with the pans 
and dishes in a steaming tub of water. 

The farmer had two daughters. The third woman was 
the wife of Karl, the oldest son. 

The Biittner girls were very different in appearance. 
You would hardly have taken them to be sisters. Toni, the 
older, was of medium height but very strong with a broad 
back. Her round face, with her red lips and cheeks, was 
pretty, largely owing to her health and youth. She was the 
typical peasant beauty with her full bosom and strong body. 

Ernestine, the younger sister, had only recently been 
confirmed, and had hardly yet grown to woman's estate. 
She was slender and delicate in appearance, which is un- 
usual in the country. But she was muscular and by no 
means weak. Judging by her quick and graceful move- 
ments, she was clever at any work. She could do more and 
do it more easily than her sister. 

Out of respect for father's nap, they avoided making 
too much noise with the dishes. Therese, however, the 
daughter-in-law, seemed to trouble little about the old man. 
She spoke in a deep, rough voice with that gurgling into- 
nation characteristic of those who have an incipient goitre. 



356 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

She was tall and thin and had a long, pointed nose. Her 
cheeks were pale, but her bones were strong and her neck 
very thick. 

In taking the clean dishes to the cupboard she had to 
pass her husband whose head had dropped to his breast, 
while his long pipe was resting on his legs. She roughly 
knocked against him exclaiming: " There is no need for 
you men-folk to sleep mosit of the day, just because we 
women are working ourselves to death. That would be 
a nice world. Wake up, Karl! " 

Karl jumped up and looked about him in great confusion. 
Then he took up his pipe and began to relight it, but soon 
his eyes closed again, while his better half went to and fro 
grumbling and scolding. 

Therese's wrath was not due to her husband's drowsi- 
ness, for she was accustomed to it, but to the fact that 
the choicest bits were given to Gustav by his mother. She 
did not like this brother-in-law, whom the old people pre- 
ferred to his older brother. Possibly, she also felt that 
Gustav was superior to her husband in many ways, and 
this made her jealous. Thoroughly angry she whispered 
to the other girls — in so far as you could ever have applied 
the word " whisper " to her — " Mother is again stuffing 
Gustav, as best she can! " 

At last Gustav ceased eating and pleased his mother by 
having cleaned the platter. He stretched himself, yawned 
and remarked that such food, he was sure, could not be had 
in the barracks. 

In the meanwhile the farmer had waked up. ' ' Has 
Gustav been here? " he asked, looking about him with 
sleepy eyes ; and when he learned that his son had already 
eaten, he rose and said that he wished to take a walk over 
the fields with Gustav. 

The young officer was ready to join him. He never knew 
how to pass the long Sunday afternoons at home. 

Karl left the room in company with his father and 
brother, apparently to go over the farm with them. But 



FARMER BUTTNER 357 

he soon disappeared, for he had only seized the opportunity 
of making his escape. He wished to continue his nap in 
the hayloft undisturbed by his wife. 

The farm consisted of three buildings, built in a square 
with the open side toward the south. The living-house, an 
ordinary structure of wood and sundried brick, with a 
woodshed attached, used to have a thatched roof, which the 
present -owner had exchanged for one of tiles. The wooden 
beams were painted black and the big squares of sundried 
brick white ; the attic windows, like eyes, pierced the roof 
under big arches, and the aspect of the whole house was 
orderly and friendly, old fashioned and substantial. The 
house had been banked for the winter with moss, leaves and 
sand from the woods, and this- girdle of warmth had not yet 
been removed. The house was well guarded, and you could 
see that the people who lived here, loved and protected 
their hearth. 

Another long and high roof sheltered the barn and mows 
and two threshing floors, while a third building contained 
the stables for the horses and the cows and the piggery. 
Both these buildings sitill had old-fashioned thatched roofs. 

They were old, but well kept. You could see that gener- 
ations of good and industrious managers had been at work 
here. There were no cracks and every hole had been closed 
betimes. 

The manure heap was in the middle of the courtyard 
with the pump for the liquid manure close by; and into 
one of the gables of the barn, a pigeon house had been 
built in the shape of a little castle, where the doors and 
windows took the places of ordinary pigeon holes. A circle 
of sharp iron barbs kept out the beasts and birds of prey. 
In the open barn you could see carts, hay racks and other 
wagons, while their poles stood in orderly array in the 
courtyard. The ladders were hung under the projecting 
roofs ; wood, split and sawed for the kitchen, kindling and 
brush were stored in the woodshed. In addition there was 
a place in which to slake lime, and close by, a pile of sand. 



358 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

There were also the appropriate stones on which to sharpen 
the scythes. 

Everywhere the useful and necessary things had been 
attended to, as they should be in every well-kept farm, while 
the comfort of the owners also had received attention. A 
small garden had been made on the south and east sides 
of the house, protected by a wooden fence. There Mrs. 
Blittner raised vegetables and useful herbs, and also a 
variety of flowers, especially those that were noticeable 
for their bright coloring or fragrance. A touch which 
added considerably to the splendor of the garden consisted 
of shining glass balls mounted on gaily painted sticks. In 
one corner, there stood a simple wooden arbor over which 
gaudy beans twined in summer time. There also was a 
grassy orchard, and the trees, judging by the size of some 
of them, were well nigh a hundred years old. 

The door of the house was especially pretty. Three 
smooth stone steps led up to it, and the jams and lintel 
were also of granite. Oh a block over the door, this inscrip- 
tion had been carved: 

" Securely men build earthly nests 

Where they can sojourn only as guests, 
And give no thought and not much care 
To what will be their lasting share." 

Gustav and his father went from the house straight to 
the stables without exchanging words or looks, for here 
the most interesting possession of the farmer was to be 
seen ; a two year old bay mare, which Biittner had recently 
bought. This was already the third or fourth visit which 
the young officer was making to the new horse, although 
he had arrived only the previous evening. He had even 
asked to have the horse taken out-of-doors that he might 
inspect her gait. But he had not yet expressed an opinion, 
although he knew perfectly well that his father was waiting 
for this. 

Even during this visit, after having carefully examined 
the leg muscles and sinews of the mare, he said nothing. 



FARMER BUTTNER 359 

The Biittners were a peculiar lot, in that nothing was 
more difficult for them than to express themselves freely 
to one of their own people. Frequently they silently car- 
ried about with them for weeks their thoughts on the 
weightiest matters. Every one found this burdensome, 
but their mouths remained sealed until iron necessity or 
some accident loosed their tongues. It was almost as if 
the members of the family were ashamed to discuss among 
themselves matters which they would have mentioned with 
greater ease and frankness to a stranger. Perhaps this 
was because each one knew intimately the inmost feelings 
and wishes of his next of kin, and realized that his own 
ideas were equally as transparent to the others. 

After having sufficiently petted and stroked the mare, 
and having renewed her bedding, father and son stepped 
out into the courtyard. There had been no noticeable 
changes since Gustav had last visited the farm, beyond the 
new little pigs and calves, and these Gustav had inspected 
with his mother before going to church. The two men, 
therefore, left the courtyard without stopping anywhere 
else. 

The farm consisted of a long and narrow strip of land 
which extended from the village to the woods. The build- 
ings were on its lower end. From the woods belonging to 
the farm a little brook ran down, on the banks of which 
Biittner had his meadows. The fields were cut by a broad 
road with old and deep ruts, partly overgrown with grass, 
which extended from the barn to the woods. 

Father and son proceeded slowly, each on his own side 
of the road. There was no need to hurry today, for there 
was no work to be done. They did not speak, because 
neither expected ihe other to speak first. At the several 
divisions of the field, the old man stopped, giving his son a 
slanting look each time, as if to challenge him to an expres- 
sion of opinion. 

Gustav was by no means indifferent to what he saw, for 
he had been born and brought up in the country and knew 



360 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

every square foot of the farm and loved it. His help in 
the management of the farm had been sorely missed by 
his father since he had joined the army. 

Karl, the future heir of the farm, was not half so valu- 
able as a laborer or a farmer as his younger brother. 

They had surveyed several fields in silence, when Biittner 
stopped before a clover field. Pointing to the heavy stand 
of reddish green clover, he said: " Such clover is found 
nowhere in the neighborhood. No other peasant in Hal- 
benau has ever had such a stand. Even in April a hare 
can hide itself here." 

He stood there with his hands behind him, his legs com- 
fortably apart, and his old honest weather-beaten face 
glowing with pride. His son pleased him greatly by de- 
claring that he had never yet seen better clover at Easter 
time. 

When they had sufficiently examined this field, they 
slowly continued along the road. The silence had been 
broken, and Gustav began to tell of his experiences. He 
had seen much during his manoeuvres and army exercises, 
and since he had kept his eyes open, he remembered what 
he had seen and learned in other parts of the country. 
The old farmer was told a good deal of modem machinery 
and new ways of doing things, which his son tried to 
describe to him. " Indeed, indeed," the old man said over 
and over again in his astonishment. Gustav 's account 
seemed to him to be almost incredible. Especially skeptical 
he was at the tale that a machine had been invented which 
could tie sheaves. He could not understand this. Sowing 
machines and threshers, that he could believe, for he had 
actually seen some, but that a machine should pick up 
sheaves and bind them — ! "If that's so," he said, "a 
fellow '11 soon come along with a machine to plant potatoes 
or to milk cows. Well, I'll be — ! If that should happen, 
we small farmers might as well give up now as later. 
Times are hard enough for us as they are. The noblemen 
are oppressing us, and the dealers are skinning us. If in 



FARMER BUTTNER 361 

addition, everything is to be done by machinery, that '11 
be our finish. ' ' 

Gustav smiled. He had got rid of many peasant preju- 
dices during these last years, and tried to convince his 
father that the new inventions were not at all harmful. On 
the contrary, people should use them and benefit thereby. 

Biittner was immovable, although he loved to listen to 
his boy, who had learned in town a lively and clever way of 
expressing his thoughts. Unable himself to formulate a 
finished sentence, he was secretly happy and proud of 
Gustav, but he did not waver one particle from his original 
position. These new things, he said, were not good for 
the little man, for they spoiled a farmer, if they did nothing 
else. 

Thus conversing, they had reached the woods, where the 
fields ended in a swampy meadow boarded by a growth of 
scrubby trees. A few solitary pines rose behind them, but 
most of the ground was covered with a great variety of 
shrubs. Annually the farmers had drained this soil by 
carting away its covering, as a bedding for their cattle, 
until the soil was no longer able to support a decent stand 
of trees. Biittner, like most small farmers, was a poor 
forester. 

The old man was ready to turn back, but Gustav wished 
to see the field beyond the woods, since they had come so 
far. Biittner himself had bought this lot as an addition to 
the farm, but he did not seem very anxious to let his son 
see it; and he had his reasons. The field had remained 
uncultivated, and the farmer was ashamed of the weeds 
luxuriating there. 

"What did you plant there this year?" Gustav asked 
innocently. 

"Not much! The woods are encroaching on that plot, 
the deer are feeding on it in hordes, how can anything grow 
there?" 

He did not mention that neither plough nor harrow had 
touched the field for more than a year. 



362 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

' ' Does the Count still wish to buy our woods ? ' ' Gustav 
asked. 

Upon this, the old man grew red in the face and angrily 
exclaimed, * ' The idea ! That I should sell the woods ! No ! 
As long as I live, the farm will remain undivided." In 
anger, the veins stood out heavily on his forehead. 

Gustav tried to conciliate his father and said he had only 
asked for information and ' ' the woods are not doing us 
much good." 

The farmer stopped, and turning to the woods said: 
" I am not going to sell any part of the farm. When I 
am dead, you can do what you like, the Count wiU never 
get the woods from me, however much he may offer for 
them. My woods are not for him; certainly not! " With 
this he clenched his fists, spat on the ground, ajid turned 
his back on the woods. 

Gustav wisely kept silence for he had touched his father 
on a sore spot. The owner of the neighboring estate had 
more than once urged the farmer to sell him his woodlot. 
Such sales were nothing new in Halbenau and the neigh- 
boring towns. The estate of Saland, originally a^gentle- 
man's holding of average size had grown to its present 
proportions by the acquisition of other estates and the 
purchase of many small farms. Already it surrounded the 
Biittner farm on three sides, and the old man watched it 
encroach upon him with increasing anxiety. Being unable 
to stem the tide he had gradually come to view with wrath 
everything that had to do with Saland. He had grown 
even more bitter since he had lost a suit against the count 
for damages done his crops by the game kept on the estate. 

Father and son followed a meadow path on one bank of 
the brook. The fields rose gently to the right and left, 
shedding water toward the strip of meadow land. Occa- 
sionally patches of excessive green revealed over-great 
dampness, and here the soil was barely able to support the 
weight of the men. The whole meadowland was well nigh 
a morass. 



FARMEE BUTTNER 363 

Gustav thought drainage should here be resorted to. 

' ' But where shall I get the money for it, in these hard 
times? " his father replied. "As it is, I can hardly make 
both ends meet. Fellows like me can't consider drainage. 
It may be all right for a big estate and its management, 
but an ordinary farmer — " 

He did not finish his sentence, and began to think deeply. 
Something had been troubling him all along, but he was 
afraid to confess it to his son. 

"Another couple of hands on the farm might do it," he 
finally said. We are not enough here, Karl and I, we two 
the only men. The women are willing enough to help, but 
what a woman can do on the farm does not amount to much. 
We two, Karl and I, cannot do all the work. There should 
be a third man here ! ' ' 

Gustav understood what his father had in mind. It was 
the same old story. He did not doubt that his father missed 
him on the farm, for Karl could not at all be compared 
with himself; self-satisfied as he was, he knew this very 
well. Moreover, this was not the first time his father had 
complained that the farm was going back since Gustav had 
joined the army. But he could not help matters, he thought, 
since he had no intention of resigning his office to become 
the hired man on his father's place. If he could have 
worked for himself, it might have been different, but to 
slave for the whole family, parents, brother and sisters 
without any profit to himself! The heir of the farm, after 
all, was not he, but Karl. 

And so he replied rather coolly: " Why don't you hire 
a man? " Whereupon the old farmer stopped abruptly 
and gesticulating wildly exclaimed: "A hired man! I, 
to hire a man! I should like to know where his wages are 
to come from. You'U have to pay such a feUow eighty 
dollars a year, and feed him too. And then he expects a 
gift at Christmas and a gratuity at harvest time. I have 
enough mouths to fill, indeed I have ! How could I keep a 
hired man! — No, the fellow who belongs here should be 



364 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

a member of the family, who would receive no wages. Such 
a one is needed here ! " 

The young officer only shrugged his shoulders, and his 
father said no more. They returned in silence. The 
features of the old man moved spasmodically as if in anger; 
he seemed to continue the conversation with himself. Be- 
fore they entered the house he touched his son on the arm, 
and whispered in his ear: " I want to show you a letter, 
Gustav, that I have received. Come with me into the 
room." 

Biittner went ahead iato the living room. Only his wife 
and daughter-in-law were there. Therese was swinging her 
baby which lay in a basket fastened by two ropes to a beam 
of the ceiling. When the farmer began to hunt for some- 
thing in a drawer, his wife asked, ' ' What are you looking 
for, Biittner? " to which he replied, " The letter from Karl 
Leberecht." 

" I have hidden it," she said as she came limping from 
her comer, ' ' wait a moment. ' ' She went to a chest of 
drawers where she found a key, and with this key she went 
to the wardrobe, which she unlocked. On the upper shelf 
there was an old book containing a number of papers. She 
carefully turned its pages, and at last found the desired 
paper. * * Here it is. ' ' 

Biittner touched it carefuUy, almost reverentially, as he 
did all written documents. Then he handed it to his son: 
" Read this, Gustav." 

The letter was written on a large sheet with the printed 
business address: " C. G. Biittner — Groceries at Whole- 
sale and Retail. ' ' Then the date was given. Gustav looked 
at the signature and saw his own name: " Gustav Biitt- 
ner." The letter was, therefore, from his cousin, who was 
just as old as he, and who was a partner in the business 
of the old Karl Leberecht Biittner. Gustav had seen his 
uncle and his cousin just once, when they had made a hur- 
ried visit to their native town many years before. 

This Karl Leberecht was farmer Biittner 's younger 



FARMER BUTTNER 365 

brother who had left Halbenau early with the reputation 
of a good-for-nothing. For years nobody had heard any- 
thing of him, when he suddenly reappeared as a married 
man and owner of a grocery business in a provincial town 
of medium size. Since then his business had grown to be 
both wholesale and retail. 

The two families, the one in the country and the other 
in town, had practically no points in common. When the 
estate was settled, thirty years ago, they had come for a 
little while closer to one another. During the past score 
of years, however, they had only occasionally heard or seen 
anything of each other. 

G. Biittner Junior was writing for his father recalling 
the mortgage which he had held on the farm since the time 
of the settlement of the estate, and requesting the farmer 
to pay the same on St. John's day of the current year. As 
the reason for calling the mortgage, he gave the contem- 
plated enlargement of their business. 

The tone of the letter was purely that of business, and 
gave no indication that he who wrote it and he who was to 
receive it were close blood relations. 

Biittner and his wife stood behind their son while he 
read the letter and looked over his shoulder. 

** Have you done anything about it? " Gustav asked when 
he had finished. 

" What do you mean? " the farmer exclaimed looking at 
his son without understanding. 

"Have you done anything about the money? You'll 
have to pay on July first." 

* * Do you see, Biittner ? " his wife cried. " I 've been tell- 
ing you right along to hustle and look for the money." 

"I've done so, and I've asked for some. I've been to 
see Ernest Kaschel. He says, he'll give me the money, if 
I will promise six and one half per cent." 

" That's just like that rascal," Gustav exclaimed. His 
uncle Kaschel was the owner of the inn in Halbenau. He 
was a widower, his late wife having been a sister of farmer 



366 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Biittner, He was looked upon as a capitalist in Halbenau, 
where cash was somewhat of a rarity. 

" Something has to be done soon," Gustav went on, " or 
they'll bring a suit against you." 

' ' Good Lord, husband, ' ' the old woman, cried, ' ' Now 
you see what I've been telling you all along. Our farm wiU 
be attached! Truly, it wiU — , oh Traugott! " 

"I won't believe this of Karl Leberecht," the farmer 
replied, but his anxious look showed that he was not at all 
sure. 

" That crowd won't hesitate long," Gustav said, and his 
mother added, " Listen to that, Traugott, Gustav agrees 
with me." And to her son she said, " But your father is 
always thus; he thinks and he thinks, but he does not do 
anything. He'll delay tiU they come and take the farm 
away from us." 

Biittner stared at his wife angrily. She had touclied him 
to the quick, and he broke out furiously: " Shut up, 
woman. What do you know of business? " 

His wife seemed more sorrowful than hurt at these words 
and withdrew to her corner. Gustav was meditating what 
advice he should give to his father. At first he felt like 
suggesting once more that the farmer sell the count his 
woodlot. But when he remembered how that advice had 
angered his father a little while before, and that no one 
ever had succeeded in changing the old man 's mind, he said : 
" I know no other help. You must go to the city, father. 
Here no one has money except Ernest Kaschel. I should 
think there would be money in the city you could get." 

"I've thought so too," the farmer replied greatly 
troubled. 

There ensued a long silence, during which nothing was 
heard but the squeaking ropes on the beam and the crack- 
ling basket in which Therese was swinging her baby. 

Then the two daughters entered. Toni was in her best 
clothes. Her well developed form had been squeezed into 
a bright blue dress, which happened to be rather short 



FAEMEE BUTTNEE 367 

in front, revealing her heavy black shoes. Her throat 
was decorated with a brooch of glistening glass. Her 
blonde hair was reeking with bay-rum, and in spots ap- 
peared almost brown. She seemed, however, very weU. 
pleased with her get-up, and moved about with such stiff 
awkwardness that she might have been carved of wood, for 
she was not accustomed to lace shoes, a stiff collar, and a 
pair of corsets. Her walk was more that of a doll than of a 
human being. 

Gustav, who had formed his taste in town, smiled at his 
sister, who told him that there was to be a dance tonight 
at the inn. She hoped he would accompany her, and had 
dressed with special care for his approval. The farmer 
who hated all pomp and useless luxury, growled something 
that sounded like " bedizened ox," but his wife sided with 
her daughter. Girls needed their little flings on Sunday, 
after having worked hard all the week in the house and 
the barn and on the fields. 

Supper was served early that the young people might 
not miss a minute of the entertainment. 

Gustav accompanied his sister to the inn. She told him 
on the way, that Ottilie Kaschel had asked more than once 
during the last days, and again that very morning after 
church, whether Gustav would come to the dance. The 
young officer smiled when he thought of his cousin. Ottilie 
was a few years older than he, but being the daughter of 
the innkeeper, she was by far the best match in Halbenau. 
In past years Gustav had frequently joked with her. He 
knew that she liked him, but when he thought of her looks 
he had to smile. In his regiment they had an old white 
horse, which they called the " concertina," thin, over-taU, 
with a hollow back. His cousin Ottilie reminded him of 
this horse. 

Gustav let his sister enter the inn alone, saying that he 
would follow later. The windows of the big hall in the 
second floor were lighted, and above the sounds of the 
music, one could hear the feet of the dancing couples pound 
the floor and trail over the boards of the dance hall. 



368 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

It did not attract Gustav, for wiioin there were other 
pleasures in store this- evening. Silently he continued his 
way over little traveled paths between houses and gardens. 
When he saw a company of young fellows coming along 
he climbed over a fence. He did not care to be accosted. 

In Pauline Katschner's room a small lamp was burning, 
for she was waiting for him. These two had made no 
appointment in the morning, but both of them knew what 
would happen in the evening. 

He gently tapped at her window, the curtains parted and 
a white figure appeared. Pauline opened a sliding pane and 
said: " The door is unlocked, Gustav, but be sUent, ma is 
at home." 

The young ofiScer took off his shoes and handed them to 
the girl through the window, without saying a word. Then 
he crept through the small door into the house with the 
stealthy movements of a cat. Lmnediately thereafter the 
light went out in Pauline Katschner's room. 

in 

A few days later farmer Biittner in his little cart came 
driving through the village street on his way to the city. 
He sat way in front on a bundle of hay and almost touched 
the horse's tail with his feet, for the cart was filled with 
bags. 

He had shaved, an act which he generally performed only 
Saturday evening, and wore a clean shirt, a black coat, and 
a low felt hat — all indications of his going to town. 

As he passed the ina of Halbenau, his brother-in-law, 
Ernest Kasohel stood there in the doorway with his pointed 
cap on his head and his hands under his apron, — which is 
the characteristic pose of an innkeeper. 

The farmer acted as if he did not see the husband of his 
late sister, and when he neared the inn, looked straight 
ahead along the country road, trying to whip his black horse 
into a trot. 

He had never cared for his brother-in-law, and his rela- 



FARMEE BUTTNEE 369 

tions -with him had been strained ever since the settlement 
which Biittner had been obliged to make with his brothers 
and sisters after the death of their parents. 

But the innkeeper did not let Biittner pass without a 
greeting: "Howdy, Traugott," he called, and when the 
farmer did not reply, the little man quickly ran down the 
steps from the inn to the street, although he was in wooden 
half shoes, and approaching the cart said: " Stop a 
moment, Traugott, I have something to tell you." 

The farmer, with several powerful jerks on the reins, 
stopped his horse, which was not easy when the old animal 
was once started, and asked what " in the hangman's 
name " Kaschel wanted with him, and he did not look 
pleased. 

The innkeeper laughed. It was one of Kaschel 's peculi- 
arities that he grinned on all occasions, which made him 
look shy and almost awkwardly foolish. But in spite of 
this he had achieved a certain power over his fellowmen. 

This time also Kaschelemst, as he was generally called, 
drew his features into an intentional grin, and instead of 
answering Biittner 's question, asked in his turn: " What's 
your hurry, Traugott? I only wished to ask where you are 
going so early in the day? " 

"I'm going to town to sell my oats," Biittner replied, 
angry at the delay, and at the hated smUe of his brother-in- 
law, the real meaning of which he had often enough known 
with sorrow to himself. He was, therefore, on the point of 
rasing his whip and driving off, when Kaschelernst took 
hold of the horse by his bridle and began to stroke his nose. 
If the farmer had started at that moment he would in all 
probability have knocked the innkeeper down. 

Kaschelernst was a measly little fellow with a reddish 
thin face. In his watery eyes you could see his liking for 
the beverages which he sold in his inn. His head was bald 
and pointed, his chin long, and what remained of his teeth 
aggressively protruding. In short, he looked somewhat 
like an old rat. On his head he always wore a pointed cap, 

Vol. XVn — 24 



370 THE aEEMAN CLASSICS 

while his body was laced into a bartender's apron. On his 
feet he had long blue stockings, which came up over his 
trouser legs. 

He snorted what sounded like " Well, well, old boy," and 
was meant for the horse, and then turned with a foolish 
laugh to his brother-in-law and said : * ' Where, in the devil 's 
name, do you get oats for sale at this season of the year? " 

"We've scraped together everything in the barn, and 
there is some left for the horses. I thought, because the 
prices are high now, I'd better sell my oats before the 
prices fall again. ' ' 

' ' I could Use about ten bushels myself, ' ' Kaschel replied, 
" if you don't ask too much." 

" The quotations are given in the papers." 

"Well, I shouldn't care to pay the market price, if I 
bought them of you. You wouldn't take advantage of a 
near relative, would you, Traugott ? ' ' Kaschelemst knew 
how to look very honest and sincere whenever he wished. 

"As to our relationship! " the farmer excitedly replied, 
" to ask six and one half per-cent of a near relative who 
needs the money ! It is you who can do that ! Get out of 
my way, I want to drive on." 

Kaschelernst did not let go the horse's head, although 
the farmer raised his whip threateningly. "I'll teU you, 
Traugott, I've thought matters over concerning the mort- 
gage of Karl Leberecht. I'll let you have the money at 
five per-cent. I'll do this, because 'tis you, Traugott. You 
may be wanting it badly. I've thought matters over. I'U 
let you have it at five per-cent. ' ' 

The farmer cast a suspicious look at his brother-in-law. 
What could have changed him so? The other day he had 
asked six and one half per-cent., and not a penny less, if 
he were to take the mortgage which his own brother Karl 
Leberecht had called. The farmer well knew that Kaschel- 
emst would do nothing just to please him. On the other 
hand, the offer was tempting. The mortgage placed at 
five per-cent.! — To be sure this was money enough! and 



FARMER BUTTNER 371 

there was a chance that he might place the mortgage in 
town at half a per-cent. less. And was it not after aU 
hetter to have no further dealings with Kaschelernst, who 
owned another mortgage on the farm, and had unfortu- 
nately other claims? 

" Well, how about it," the innkeeper broke into Biittner's 
meditations. ''Are we agreed on five per-cent.? " 

" It would suit me all right to get the money right away." 

" The money is ready. I have it in the house, and you 
can take it along with you to the post office, Traugott, if you 
wish to pay Karl Leberecht. Well then, is it a bargain? " 

The farmer thought awhile. He was suspicious, for he 
knew there was a pitfall he had not yet seen. If Kaschel- 
ernst played the part of an honest fellow you could be sure 
that he had set out to cheat you. " You say, you've got 
the money ready? " 

"A thousand dollars and more! They are in my fire- 
proof safe. Do you want to look at them, Traugott? " 

'"'You say five per-cent.? Can't you make it less? " 

" No, surely not less. And there is another thing I wish 
to say to you at the same time. For my own mortgage 
which I have inherited from your sister, let me tell you now, 
I should also like to have five per-cent. from next October. 
Four per-cent. is not enough. Do you understand me ? " 

" You are crazy." 

** Five per-cent. for both mortgages. If you agree, 
I'll give you the money. If you don't, the deal is off, 
Traugott!" 

This was the last straw. The farmer's patience was at 
aa end. He raised his whip and beat his horse, and 
Kaschelernst, who realized that Biittner was in earnest this 
time, had just time enough to jump aside. At first the horse 
remonstrated at the sudden blows, but then he started. 
The farmer, with a face flaming with anger, turned to his 
brother-in-law and volubly told him what he thought of him, 
while the cart was careening from one side of the street to 
the other and almost tumbled into the ditch, the farmer 



372 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

in his excitement pulling alternately on the near and on the 
oif rein. 

The innkeeper stood in the middle of the road shaking 
with laughter, while he looked after the rapidly disappear- 
ing cart. He jumped delightedly from one foot to the 
other, snickered and gasped for breath. His son Eichard, 
an awkward fellow of about sixteen years of age, who had 
eagerly watched the proceedings from a bar-room window, 
stepped out when farmer Biittner had driven away, and 
wanted to know what had happened. Kaschelernst, how- 
ever, was almost crying with merriment and could hardly 
tell his story; he was laughing so hard. 

Biittner himself, for some time, found relief for his wrath 
in voluble curses. He was the angriest with himself for 
having been induced to speak again to his brother-in-law. 
As if anybody who had ever had anything to do with that 
*' cut throat " had not been cheated by him; for wasn't he 
the slickest rascal in spite of his stupid expression? He 
acted as if he could not count from one to three, and thereby 
caught every simpleton. 

When Kaschelernst had come to the village years ago, 
hef had not owned a penny, and today he was acknowledged 
to be the richest man in Halbenau. He owned the inn and 
a goodly number of acres. He had erected a dance haU 
with large modem windows, two bowling alleys, and a 
shooting gallery. In addition to his liquor business he had 
a grocery store, and at times dealt in cattle and grain. He 
even dabbled in the real estate business, and people often 
said that he had been concerned in the speculations of 
cut-up estates which had occurred more than once in Hal- 
benau recently. He was hand in glove with all the dealers 
and brokers and agents of the neighboring city. Hardly a 
week passed, without one of this guild stopping at his inn. 

And to think that this fellow had achieved all this only 
because he had married a daughter of the owner of the 
Biittner farm! 

When Traugott's first anger had passed, he sank into 



FARMEE BUTTNEE 373 

gloomy meditations. How had all this come over him and 
his family! — There was no justice in this world! Let the 
pastor say from the pulpit, if he wished, that the bad receive 
their punishment and the good their reward even in this 
world ! This was not true so far as he and his family were 
concerned. The very opposite was taking place. There 
was no justice in this world ! 

The Biittner farm was one of the oldest farms in the 
village large enough to maintain horses. Farmers of this 
name had owned it as far hack as the church records went. 
Long before the big war in the seventeenth century, men of 
the Biittner family had more than once been chairmen 
of the board of selectmen; and the Biittner name was 
engraved on many a gravestone in the ancient churchyard. 

During the Thirty Years' War, when Halbenau and its 
neighborhood had suffered severely, the Biittner family 
had almost succumbed to the plague, for only two of its 
members had survived. Since then this single branch of the 
family had subsisted in Halbenau. There had always been 
children in large numbers, but the younger sons had re- 
mained single, or had stayed with their families on the farm 
and helped, or gone to work on the big estate. The children, 
moreover, as was the law then, were offered to the manor 
lord as serfs, for since the peasants were not living on 
their own land, the lord had the right to dispose of them 
as he chose. The Biittners, however, had been so valuable 
and useful that the lords had always recognized their worth 
and had never sent them to smaller holdings, as often hap- 
pened to farmers in those times. Since the Biittners had 
paid their dues to their lords by working for them when- 
ever they were asked to do so, they had, of course, been 
unable to grow rich. Their families, moreover, had always 
been large, while the soil of their farm was not of the best. 
The times of servitude, however, had passed without loss 
of land or decrease of mental vigor on the part of the 
Biittners, and although many peasant families had been 
crushed to dull submission, the Biittners had maintained 
their solidarity. 



374 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The emancipation of the peasants had taken place in the 
lifetime of the grandfather of the present owner of the 
farm. Serfdom had been abolished, and in lieu of the 
annual payments to the manor lord, one-third of the Biitt- 
ner farm had been given to him outright. 

Under Traugott's father the family had reached, com- 
paratively speaking, its zenith. He had been very active 
and had achieved a certain amount of wealth, thanks 
to a number of remarkably good harvests. He had even 
increased the size of the farm by a very fortunate pur- 
chase, and had invested much of his money in lasting 
improvements. 

But he too had found it no easy task to maintain his 
independence by the side of the growing estate of the 
Count, who was steadily adding to his acres by the pur- 
chase of smaller farms or parts of some of the neighboring 
large estates. Traugott alone of all the chUdren had re- 
mained on the farm, being its prospective heir, while the 
others had scattered in all directions following the spirit 
of their time. When Traugott's father had suddenly died 
of a stroke of apoplexy, no testament had been found 
among his papers contrary to every one's expectation. 
Having been a farmer through and through, he had abhorred 
writing, and been suspicious of the courts and the lawyers. 
He had, moreover, been one of those people who do not 
like to be reminded of death ; and a will may have seemed 
to him to be altogether unnecessary, for he considered it 
self-evident that the oldest son would inherit the farm, 
as had always been the case, and that the other sisters and 
brothers would agree. 

Things, however, happened very differently from what 
he had expected. 

He left five children and a widow. Traugott, the oldest, 
became the head of the family and the owner of the farm. 
The second son had exchanged the country for the city, 
years ago, a third son had gone to Austria and remained 
there. Then there were two daughters. One had married 



FARMEE BUTTNER 375 

the inn-keeper of Halbenau, the other had married a miller 
and moved away from home. 

The property consisted only of the farm and bnUdings 
with the necessary tools and furnishings. The cash had 
been spent on the dowries of the two daughters and im- 
provements on the farm. 

The oldest son was ready to assume the farm and to pay 
small legacies to the other heirs, as his father had often 
directed that he should do. But the old man had counted 
on a spirit, such as had governed the family in his own 
youth, a spirit of solidarity, which the younger genera- 
tion did not cherish. Not one of the heirs was willing to 
sacrifice anything in the interest of maintaining the family 
farm. 

They asked that a valuation be made of the property, 
and when this appeared too low to them, they wanted to 
have the farm sold. 

The oldest boy who had arranged his whole life with a 
view to taking over the farm at his father's death, did not 
agree to this, and finally assumed control of the farm at 
the unfairly high figure demanded by his brothers and 
sisters. 

He was, of course, unable to pay them in cash, and had 
to give them mortgages on the farm, and be glad that they 
did not ask more than four per-cent. interest of him. 

So it happened that the new owner found himself m 
possession of a property which had suddenly been over- 
burdened with debts where formerly it had been free of 
any encumbrances. 

Several wars occurred, and Traugott fought for his 
country. Later good years and bad years followed each 
other as rain follows sunshine, but being without capital, 
he was unable to improve the opportunities of the good 
years, while the bad years threatened to crush him like a 
tight coat of mail laced over a sore body. 

Fortunately, farmer Biittner was not the man to submit 
easily. 



376 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

His farm was extensive, his farthest fields being at a 
considerable distance from his barns which were buUt on 
the other end of the narrow strip along which his property 
extended. The soil was light and shallow. The farm's 
exposure also was unfavorable, for it was unprotected in 
the north and east, while high hills in the south and west 
fostered cold and dampness on his fields and tended to 
shorten the warm season. His harvests, therefore, were 
mediocre, in spite of his unremitting activity. The interest 
on the mortgages ate up the proceeds of each harvest, and 
Traugott's debts increased slowly but surely. He had no 
chance of making improvements. Whenever he started 
to use more fertilizer, or to dig ditches for drainage, or to 
mend and rebuild his barns, new misfortunes like haU, 
epidemics among his cattle, disease and death at home, 
always pushed him back into his old state of misery, spoil- 
ing all his work. 

His was the desperate battle of a seasoned swimmer who 
barely succeeds in keeping his head above the towering 
waves. 

In such a struggle, farmer Biittner had grown to be sixty 
years old. 

IV 

Farmer Biittner had come to town, and was stopping as 
usual in the inn called " The Courageous Cavalier." After 
he had taken his black horse to the stable and had attended 
to it himself, he went to the market place. 

It happened to be the chief market day of the week, and 
the streets were filled with throngs of people who had 
come from the country. Farmer Biittner, everywhere well 
known, was frequently accosted by the small merchants and 
trades people, who were standing in the open doors of their 
shops, and asked to make them a visit. But he had no 
intention of being persuaded to make any purchases at all 
today. First he wished to sell his oats at a profit, after 
that there would be time to see whether a few pennies would 
be left over for such things. 



FAEMEE BUTTNEE 377 

In the market place there was a corner familiar to all 
initiated where the trading in grain used to take place. 
When the farmer approached it, a dealer met him at once 
with outstretched hand and inquired what his wishes were. 
He was drawn into the circle of the men assembled there, 
greeted with cordial slaps on his shoulder, and asked why 
he had not been seen in town for so long. 

This astonishing cordiality of men whom Biittner hardly 
knew put him on his guard and made him wonder whether 
they intended to make sport of him. When he was, there- 
fore, asked whether he had anything to sell, his replies 
were cautious and evasive. He soon left this group of men 
for another, apparently satisfied with being only a specta- 
tor. He listened everywhere with his hands behind his 
back. There was a heavy demand especially for oats, and 
many bargains were struck, to judge by the hand clasps 
which invariably sealed the oral agreements. 

After awhile Biittner left the market place with the feel- 
ing that the noisy and nonchalant way of doing business 
which the dealers exhibited in the market place was meant 
to cheat the farmers. 

Today he was anxious to obtain an especially high price 
for his oats, for he wished to invest the proceeds in the 
purchase of a cow which should take the place of one he 
had been obliged to kill last winter. 

He remembered that he had been well paid for his rye 
last year by a dealer in the centre of the town, who had 
sent him his quarterly catalogue since then. Only a few 
days ago he had received an announcement from him in 
which the "highest possible prices" under the "most 
liberal conditions ' ' had been promised. 

The farmer, therefore, thought he might try his luck 
again with Samuel Harrassowitz. If he did not succeed 
there, he could still sell his oats in the market place. 

Harrassowitz had his office in a rather narrow street, on 
the ground floor. You entered through a deep gateway 
which led into a paved courtyard, and then by a side door 
into the office itself. 



378 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

The farmer knocked and entered, removing his hat before 
crossing the threshold. The room was long and narrow 
and divided in the centre by an office railing behind which 
many clerks sat perched on high stools. A young man with 
glasses jumped down, approached Biittner and asked him 
what he wanted. The farmer replied that he had some oats 
for sale, whereupon the young fellow, who was wiping his 
pen on his sleeve, inquired " how much? " 

' ' There may be some ten bags, ' ' Biittner said. Then the 
youth smiled in a superior way and remarked that his firm 
made no purchase en detail. 

This expression was unintelligible to the farmer who 
asked what it meant, and there ensued a string of questions 
and replies while the other clerks stared mockingly at the 
old man in the old-fashioned coat. 

In the meanwhile a rather stout man of middle age with 
a bald head, curved nose and fiery red whiskers had entered 
the office from the next room. At once all the clerks turned 
to their work, bent low over their papers and were excess- 
ively busy. 

Samuel Harrassowitz, however, — for it was he — scanned 
the farmer carefully, and finally approached him with ex- 
tended hand. He smiled ingratiatingly and said, " God 
bless you, my dear Mr. Biittner. What can I do for you! " 

The farmer was greatly surprised. How did this gentle- 
man know him? for he could not remember ever having 
seen him. 

' ' Of course, I know you, Mr. Biittner. You are a well 
known man with us, for you are the owner of a fine estate 
in Halbenau — are you not 1 ' ' 

The farmer stared with open mouth at the man who 
seemed to know everything, and could not recover from his 
surprise. 

* ' I know you, know you perfectly well, Mr. Biittner. 
Well then, what can we do for you? " 

During these last words the young clerk had whispered 
a few words to his boss who loudly exclaimed : ' ' Well, 



FARMEE BUTTNEE 379 

Mr. Bellwitz, I trust that you have purchased Mr. Biittner's 
oats." 

' ' I thought ' ' — the clerk replied. 

"Oh indeed, you thought! You are always thinking, 
and thereby you are possibly losing us such a client! — 
Certainly, Mr. Biittner, I'll take your oats without look- 
ing at them; we'll take anything you'll send us. Have you 
the oats in town? " 

The farmer drew with much difficulty a little bag of gray 
linen from the deep pocket of his frock coat. 

"Ah, you have brought a sample along? It is really not 
necessary, Mr. Biittner, I know your grain. Al quality, 
of course." 

He nevertheless opened the bag and looked carefully at 
the grains of oats trickling through his fingers. "We'U 
buy them, and give you the highest market price. — Mr. Bell- 
witz, send a man at once to " The Courageous Cavalier " 
to fetch the oats. — In the meanwhile, Mr. Biittner, please 
come for a minute to my private office. I should like to 
have you tell me what the prospects of the harvest in your 
neighborhood are this year." 

The farmer had entered the little side office with its one 
window to the courtyard, before he realized what had hap- 
pened. He was asked to sit on the sofa while the red 
whiskered dealer sat down opposite him at the other end of 
the table. 

" Well, my dear sir, how are matters going in Halbenau? 
I know several agriculturalists there. The soil is only fairly 
good — isn't it? Also a little high — isn't it? You are 
troubled by late frosts. Afterward the com won't yield 
much, however promising it seemed at first. I know that, 
. . . yes, I know all that.— "Well, now you teU me every- 
thing. Is the sowing all done? " 

" My son and the girls are planting the last potatoes 
today. Then the cabbages will have to be planted. In about 
two weeks, I reckon, we'll be done." 

' ' My congratulations ! That is fine ! I supose you have 
a large family? " 



380 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" Large enough, Mr. Harrassowitz, just large enougli," 
the farmer replied with a quiet grin. " Counting the 
grandchildren, eight mouths have to be fed — eight of 
them!" 

' ' Good ! Then you have that many more hands to help 
in the work and at harvest time, haven't you, Mr. Biittner? 
A large family is a blessing from God, especially for a 
farmer. I know the conditions in the country, I know them ! 
You may rest assured of that, my dear Biittner. — WeU, 
and the winter rye? How does the rye look! " 

The farmer reported that the rye had weathered the 
winter in splendid condition. " It's a joy to look at. Like 
the bristles of a brush, so help me! The field looks just 
like a brush. ' ' 

" I am delighted to hear this. Then the prospects of a 
good harvest are excellent. That wiU mean much money 
for the farmers ! And if the farmer has money, every one 
has money ! ' ' 

" That may be so — you're right there, I suppose, Mr. 
Harrassowitz ! ' ' the farmer agreed scratching his head. 
" But money has been mighty scarce. Bless my soul, but 
it has been scarce recently, Mr. Harrassowitz." 

"Ah, go along, Mr. Biittner. You are not going to com- 
plain! You with your fine estate! — How large is it, if I 
may ask? " 

" Two hundred and upward of thirty acres, all in all, 
including the woodlot." 

" You don't say ! That's almost a lord's holding! And 
you will complain? But, my dear Mr. Biittner, pray what 
should the small farmers do, if you are grumbling? " 

" Oh, it would be all right, if there were not so many 
taxes and duties and debts." 

' ' I know, ah, I know ! The agriculturalists have much 
to bear. But tell me, are the taxes so very high in Hal- 
benau? " 

At this point farmer Biittner made a clean breast of all 
his troubles. Harrassowitz did not interrupt him, except 



FAEMER BUTTNEE 381 

by an occasional remark, and this only made the farmer 
whose tongue had been loosed, describe his circumstances 
in greater detail. 

Finally he had reached his chief cause of complaint, his 
powerful neighbor, the estate Saland. 

" Oh my, oh my," the dealer agreed, " I believe every 
word you say. It is no fun to have such a big estate owner 
as a neighbor. These people are always greedy for more 
land, and would like to see the last of the independent 
farmers. The huge estates are the curse of our nation, 
for we need the free and independent farmers who are the 
bulwark of the state. If they are gone, where shaU. we find 
recruits for our army — I ask you, where? Those brave 
soldier-boys! Do your fields touch those of Saland on 
one or on several sides 1 ' ' 

The farmer said that he was practically shut in every- 
where by the large estate, and heatedly related the harm 
done him by the big game. 

" But that is terrible ! And the count, of course, pays no 
attention to it," the dealer exclaimed in a tone of great 
vexation, ' ' when the harm is done to the fields of a little 
man! Oh, our conditions are very, very sad! — I suppose 
the count has even offered to buy your whole place, has he ? " 

The farmer related that the count had been trying for 
years to buy his woodlot, but that he did not mean to sell 
one foot of it, to all of which Harrassowitz listened most 
attentively. Finally he assumed again his air of great 
concern. 

" Yes, those conditions are very sad. They must be eat- 
ing into your savings ; and you, my dear Mr. Biittner, are 
not without your cares, are you? — TeU me, are there any 
mortgages on your farm? " 

" Oh Lord! " the farmer cried in reply to this question 
which Harrassowitz had asked with the most innocent ex- 
pression in the world. " Good Lord! " and he jumped 
from his seat. " Mortgages! There are enough! If there 
were fewer, it would be better for me ! " 



382 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

" Well, about how much do they amount to! I ask, 
because I am really interested." 

Biittner made his calculations, and then replied in a low, 
dull voice : ' ' They'll probably sum up to about twenty-two 
thousand marks, Mr. Harrassowitz. " 

The dealer gave a low whistle, contracted his brows, 
shook his head, and said, " That is a good deal." 

" Isn't it? Oh, it is a great deal," Biittner assented with 
a vacant and disconsolate stare. 

' ' But how, in creation, can you make your farm pay the 
mere interest on your debts? " Harrassowitz asked, as he 
took paper and pencil to make some quick calculations. 
* ' Yes, my dear sir, there is something wrong. And in 
addition you want to live yourself on the proceeds of your 
farm, and your entire family! — But that is impossible! 
You are only cheating yourself, my friend! " 

" Yes, it is hard, very hard! " the farmer sighed. "A 
fellow often would Uke to turn himself into a dollar that 
he might pay the interest. We have to work hard from 
morning till night, and there are times when one has hardly 
enough to eat, because both ends will not meet. It is a 
damned poor life, if a fellow has as many debts as his dog 
has fleas." 

"And you bear it so quietly? Really I am angry with 
you that you should kiU yourself for your creditors." 

" Well, what should I do? Didn't I get the farm with 
all the mortgages on it? My family would not let me have 
it any cheaper. ' ' 

" There is only one way out, my friend. Throw up the 
whole business, and tell your creditors : ' I won't play so 
any longer. Let some one else try to earn the interest 
money from the farm. I can't do it. I am tired! ' — And 
then you'll see how they wiU look. Not one of them wiU 
take over the farm, you may be sure! On the contrary, 
they will come to you and beg you for heaven's sake to stay 
where you are, and save their money. Such tricks have 
often been successful. You yourself should ask to have the 



FAEMER BUTTNER 383 

farm sold because of too many debts, and you will see how 
differently your creditors will act. Possibly you may buy 
the farm back yourself, and you'll be rid of a goodly part 
of your debts. My rule is, not to be diffident in such mat- 
ters ! After all, this course is only a way of readjusting 
one's affairs, if one has not been successful. I thank God 
that it can be done." 

The farmer shook his head. He had probably not under- 
stood the full meaning of the proposal, but his sense of 
honesty seemed to tell him that something was not right. 

He declared that he wished to stay on the farm, and that 
he hoped to be able to pay his interest money regularly, if 
only the times would grow better, and if some one would 
give him a helping hand just now. 

In the meanwhile the bags of oats had arrived from ' ' The 
Courageous Cavalier," and were being unloaded in the 
courtyard. The young man from the outer ofi&ce entered 
to make his report, whereupon Harrassowitz remarked: 
" Kindly get your pay, Mr. Biittner, from the cashier near 
the door of the office. I'll accompany you." The farmer 
received his money and had to sign a receipt, which took 
some time because his hand was no longer accustomed to 
the pen. Finally his cumbersome signature was accom- 
phshed; he had counted and pocketed his money, but he did 
not move. Turning his hat in his hands, he hesitated as 
if he wanted to say something more. 

The dealer's keen eye did not fail to notice Biittner 's 
remarkable behavior; he came round the office railing, 
behind which he had been conferring with one of the clerks, 
and said, " Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. 
Biittner? We carry a rich assortment of the best fertilizer. 
Do you not need some ? ' ' 

" No, not that," the farmer replied, " it isn't that I need. 
But there is something else I wished to tell you — perhaps 
you can help me. — One of the mortgages has been called. 
I'll have to pay on St. John's Day." 

" Well, I never — " Harrassowitz exclaimed in simulated 



384 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

surprise. "I'm afraid I shall not be able to help you there. 
Mortgages do not belong to my kind of business. — Never- 
theless — ," and he took the farmer back with him into his 
private office. 

"And so a mortgage has been called for St. John's Day," 
he continued when they had entered. "Is it a first or 
second mortgage? What is the rate of interest? How 
much longer would it have to run? " He then asked 
many questions seemingly at random. Finally he began 
to figure, while Biittner was thoughtfully watching his ex- 
pression, and anxiously noting that Harrassowitz had ele- 
vated his eyebrows and was constantly shaking his head. 

Finally the dealer rose, and stepping up to his visitor 
looked at him intently. He could not let him have the 
money, he said. He was a merchant, nothing but a mer- 
chant, and not in the habit of loaning money on real estate. 
But since he had seen that Biittjier was honest and reliable 
he would help him. He had a business friend, a thorough 
gentleman, to whom he would introduce Biittner, and pos- 
sibly this man would be able to assist him. But he could 
do this only as a favor, distinctly only a favor, for it was 
not his custom to mix in such matters. 

He then stepped to the telephone and called Mr. Schon- 
berger's number: " Good morning! Is Mr. Schonberger 
in his office? — I should like to speak to him. . . . Thank 
you." 

The farmer watched his host in great surprise. He had 
never even heard of a telephone and, of course, had never 
seen one. 

Harrassowitz stood waiting with the receiver to his ear, 
and smiled at the comic fright of the old man. * ' Here, 
Mr. Biittner, is the other receiver. Put this thing to your 
ear. — Oh, it won't bite you." But the farmer could not 
be induced to touch the receiver. 

In the meanwhile Mr. Schonberger had come to the tele- 
phone at the other end, and Harrassowitz began : 

"This is Harrassowitz. . . . Yes! . . . Good morn- 



FAEMEE BUTTNER 385 

ing Schonberger ! The estate-owner, Mr. Biittner, of Hal- 
benau, is here, and wants to borrow money for a mortgage 
that has been called. May I bring him to yon? " 

Then followed a pause while Harra'ssowitz listened atten- 
tively. Then he suddenly laughed out loud and qast a 
mocking side glance at the farmer, before he called into the 
transmitter : 

" Simon pure, needs it badly. A splendid opening. . . . 
Nonsense, are you daffy? . . . What? . . . No, a jack 
pot! ... I can't hear. ... Of course! He is half 
loony. . . .I'll sign a note. . . . All right! I'll bring 
him. Goodby! " 

" That's what is called a telephone, my friend," he said 
patronizingly to the farmer, as he hung up the receiver. 
" You see, you've learned something that you can tell the 
folks at home." 

Then he added that they should now go to Mr. Schon- 
berger, and he invited the farmer to come along with him. 

The Loan and Brokerage Office of Isidor Schonberger 
was located at the other end of the town, and also in a 
crooked little street. Harrassowitz, however, did not enter 
the main office, but took Biittner across the hall to a back 
room. 

Here in a shabby desk chair a heavy, bald headed man 
was sitting, whose big dark eyes, peering from two deep 
cavities, gave him somewhat the looks of a night owl. 

" Good morning, Schonberger! " 

" Good morning, Sam ! " The heavy man did not budge 
from his chair which seemed to have become a part of him. 
Harrassowitz, who was widely known in the business world 
as " Sam," apparently knew the habits of his friend and, 
therefore, drew up a chair for himself and asked the farmer 
to be seated also. 

"Let me introduce to you," he began, "my business 
friend, the estate-owner, Mr. Biittner. I know him. He is 
reliable. You need not hesitate to open an account with 
him." 

Vol. XVTI — 25 



386 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Sohonberger shrugged his shoulders, and when he spoke 
his voice was hoarse and lisping. It was a risky business, 
he said, in these times to loan money on farming property. 
There were too many forced sales, and farmers failed even 
more frequently than business men. 

" But I can vouch for this one," Harrassowitz exclaimed. 
"He is one of the good old sort. He is reliable through 
and through. ' ' And patting the old man he added, ' ' He 
won't fail. I'm right, am I not? " 

Isidor Schonberger, however, persisted in his refusal. 
He had had too many bad experiences recently, he said. 
The interest had not been paid, and had been lost in forced 
sales, so that he had been cheated out of his money. 

' ' But when I tell you that this man is 0. K. ! When I 
vouch for Mr. Biittner with my word of honor! Look at 
this gentleman, Schonberger. Does he look as if he would 
wrong us? If I say he is 0. K., then he is 0. K. ! " 

" Which mortgage is it? " Schonberger asked, maintain- 
ing his stolid air in strong contrast with his lively friend. 

" What has that to do with it? " Harrassowitz exclaimed. 
" The estate has more than two hundred acres of the best 
possible soil! The mortgage is as sure as a gold bond! " 

" Why was it called? " Schonberger asked. 

" His brother had it," Harrassowitz explained, " and he 
has called it because he needs the money in his business. 
He must be a fool to give up such an investment! — Do be 
sensible, Schonberger, let's have the money." 

The fat man took up a notebook, moistened his pencil, 
and asked Biittner to enumerate all his debts, one after the 
other. 

It took some time before the old farmer had recollected 
all the figures, but at last he had named them. 

First there was a county-mortgage of four thousand 
marks, then the mortgages of his family: Karl Leberecht 
and Gottlieb, his deceased sister Caroline or, rather, her 
heirs, Ernest Kaschel and his children, and his sister Ernes- 
tine. All of these had equal rights. Then there followed 



FAEMER BUTTNER 387 

more recent debts, and among them one to Ernest Kaschel 
for seventeen hundred marks. 

The man in the desk chair maintained his characteristic 
air of gloom while he coolly noted in his book every one of 
the figures which hesitatingly fell from Biittner's lips. It 
seemed as if the heavy features of his bloated face were 
unable to register either surprise or excitement. " Is that 
all?" he asked when the farmer had stopped. Biittner 
nodded his assent. 

"I'll give you the money! " was all the hoarse voice said. 

Harrassowitz jumped up. " What did I tell you, Biitt- 
ner ! My friend Schonberger is a noble man ! See ! He '11 
give you the money! " 

" How much interest did your brother get," Schonberger 
asked, and when Biittner replied, "Four per-eent.," he 
added. 

" My rate is five per-cent. with quarterly notice." 

The farmer heaved a sigh of relief at these words. He 
had been afraid that he would be asked to pay much heavier 
interests. 

" Well, what did I tell you? " Harrassowitz cried; " you 
see what kind of man Mr. Schonberger is ! He asks for 
only five per cent. You have made a splendid bargain, 
my dear Biittner ! " 

The farmer began to think so himself, and he felt grati- 
tude in his simple heart for the man who had helped him 
in his hour of need. He walked up to Mr. Isidor Schon- 
berger rather awkwardly and took his pale and faded hand, 
which was decorated with many rings, between his own 
brawny hands, and pressed it hard. " I thank you, Mr. 
Schonberger, with all my heart I thank you! God bless 
you ! You have taken a great care from me ! " 

Isidor Schonberger looked at him with the same air of 
tired contempt which he had for everything in this world 
that could not be expressed in figures, and dismissed him 
with a hardly noticeable shake of his head. 



388 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" Now we'll go to the lawyer, Mr. Biittner," Harrasso- 
witz broke in, ' ' and then to the record office. You had 
better go ahead and wait for me ontside. I just remember 
that I have a few things in another matter to talk over with 
Mr. Schonberger. I'll foUow you in a minute." 

The one minute had grown to at least ten, before Har- 
rassowitz joined the farmer, whom he took by the arm. 
* ' Come along, dear friend, ' ' he said, ' ' now we 'II put every- 
thing in writing, for you should have a security and proof 
of our agreement. Let me take you to my lawyer. He 
won't charge you much." 

[The manager of the count's estate, Captain Schorff, was 
a kind hearted man who admired old Mr. Biittner. On one 
of his visits to the farm he learned that Btittner was in 
pecuniary difficulties, and offered to interest the count, and 
to broach again the subject of taking over Biittner 's wood- 
lot. The count and his entire family were of a genial dis- 
position, obviously desirous of living on good terms with 
their farmers and tenants, but they had so little knowledge 
of the conditions under which these people lived that they 
could not bridge the gulf which separated them from the 
men and women of the village. This is brought out in a 
number of incidents omitted here for lack of space.] 

V 

A small one horse Victoria had stopped at the inn of 
Halbenau. The livery of the coachman indicated that the 
owner had come from the city. The owner himself, a red 
whiskered man in a gray overcoat and big-checked trousers, 
dismounted and gave orders to have the horse unharnessed. 

In the barroom there happened to be at the time only 
Ottilie, the innkeeper's daughter. Harrassowitz studied 
her with the searching look he had for all women, whether 
they were pretty or homely. " Is your papa at home? " 
he asked, "for you are no doubt his daughter. I am 
Samuel Harrassowitz from town. Your father knows me." 



FAEMER BUTTNER 389 

[Here follows a scene of an amusing flirtation between 
Sam and Ottilie, which is cut short, to her regret, by the 
entrance of Kaschelernst. The latter and Sam apparently 
are old acquaintances.] 

Kaschelernst then sent Ottilie to bring glasses, while he 
himself fetched a bottle, and urged Harrassowitz to taste 
his new whiskey which was especially good. 

They spoke of the crops, of the weather and cattle dis- 
eases. But these were only skirmishes. These two men 
knew and estimated each other at their proper worth. 
Kaschelernst knew perfectly well that Sam had not come 
to Halbenau for nothing, but this play of hide-and-seek 
seemed to suit them for the present. 

Sam was the first to talk in a serious vein, and indicated 
his desire to do so by moving closer to his host and drop- 
ping his voice. Kaschelernst took the hint and sent his 
daughter, who had withdrawn behind the bar, out of the 
room. At last it was possible for men to talk " sense." 

Sam inquired after the circumstances of a number of 
people : farmers, estate-owners, artisans ; and Kaschelernst 
replied with the gusto of the malicious informer. His 
delight in the misfortunes, errors, and stupidity of his 
fellowmen was very apparent. 

"When he spoke of a farmer who was on the point of 
failure, he smUed. He also smiled in speaking of another 
who had put fire to his bam, and he laughed outright when 
he mentioned the poor day laborer who had recently com- 
mitted suicide by hanging, because he had lost his only cow. 

Kaschelernst seemed to know everybody in the neighbor- 
hood, and what everybody was doing. Harrassowitz lis- 
tened most intently, almost reverentially, as if Kaschelernst 
was uttering a gospel when he said, " Farmer so-and-so 
could not keep above water for more than two years," or 
" such-and-such a man had good credit because he was the 
sure heir to some property." 



390 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

They had drunk several glasses of the good whiskey 
which Harrassowitz seeraed to enjoy, when Sam, having 
absorbed enough wisdom, rose and said he had to go to the 
village. 

" Is that so? " Kaschelernst asked. " There is no busi- 
ness for you in Halbenau at present." 

"Ah wen, I just want to look at a farm." Kaschelernst 
grew attentive, although he was anxious not to betray his 
curiosity, and asked in a casual way: " Which farm? " 

Sam made as if he had not heard the question. " People 
say it is a good farm. Fields and meadows Al, the build- 
ings in excellent condition, only, of course, considerably in 
debt, as all farms are today. I thought I would look at it." 

" Take care not to lose your way in Halbenau, Harrasso- 
witz ! ' ' Kaschelernst remarked as he followed his guest to 
the door. * ' There are many farms here, large and small. 
Just where do you wish to go? " 

"To the Biittner farm." 

Kaschelernst did not bat an eyelid when he heard the 
name of his brother-in-law, although Harrassowitz was 
looking at him intently, and asked. " Do you know the 
farm? I am interested in it." 

Kaschel shrugged his shoulders and looked mysterious, 
saying he could give no information, for the owner was his 
brother-in-law. "Your brother-in-law, Mr. Kaschel!" 
Sam exclaimed in well simulated surprise. ' * That is very 
interesting. I have assisted the man to a loan, and I am 
exceedingly glad that you are related to him — very glad 
indeed I Now the farmer is twice as dear to me as before, 
for, of course, you will not leave your brother-in-law in the 
lurch— isn't that so? " 

Kaschelernst made a very foolish face. It was so foolish 
that one could easily detect the craftiness which it was 
meant to hide. Harrassowitz burst out laughing, aad 
Kaschelernst joined with a will. These two noble fellows 
had once again found each other out. 

' ' That 's all right then I Well, I think I had better look 



FAEMEE BUTTNEE 391 

at the farm of your brother-in-law," Harrassowitz re- 
marked as he turned to take the path which Kasohelernst 
described to him. 

Sam approached the Biittner farm critically examining 
everything. First the buildings — the dwelling house, a 
frame building with a tiled roof; the barn and stables, 
thatched roofs ; and found everything in good order. The 
farmer then was not yet entirely lost! 

He entered the hall through the open door, and knocked 
at the door of the living room where he met only old Mrs. 
Buttner who was rocking her youngest grandchild to sleep. 

She stared open-mouthed at the stranger who walked up 
to her most graciously, saying that he was a business friend 
of her husband, and had come to visit the farm. 

Sam's clothes made a great impression on her, especially 
Ms glistening scarf pin — for the good old woman did not 
know that there are diamonds of glass — she marveled that 
her husband had such noble friends in town, and in spite 
of her rheumatism ran to fetch a chair for Sam. But he 
was too quick for her, and asked her for heaven's sake not 
to inconvenience herself for him. If the farmer was in the 
fields he would go to look for him there. Under no con- 
dition did he wish to occasion any inconvenience in the 
house. Mrs. Biittner told him that the entire family was 
in the fields, the women in the vegetable patch, Karl carting 
potatoes, and Biittner sowing near the woods. 

The stranger looked about the room and commented on 
its comfort and neatness; he examined the wainscoting 
which made a room so cosy in winter, he said; he admired 
the china closet and took several dishes down for closer 
inspection. In short, he was interested in everything. 
"Very charming here,— very, very charming," he said 
with a friendly laugh at Mrs. Buttner; " such genuine and 
honorable patriarchal conditions! Oh I love them! In 
town we have nothing of the sort ! " 

Mrs. Biittner was most favorably impressed by all this 



392 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

praise, but deemed it proper to play the part of the humble 
woman. She denied, therefore, that everything was beauti- 
ful here, and was sure that the gentleman was accustomed 
to much better things. On the contrary, Harrassowitz 
assured her, there was nothing more ideally perfect than 
a farmer's home, and he much preferred it to his oflBce. 

Then he approached the cradle, played with the baby, 
tickled it under the chin, sounding a funny " Kss,. Kss," 
which made the infant laugh and kick with joy, praised its 
healthy appearance, and said that one of his daughters had 
recently married. 

Mrs. Blittner was captivated by the familiar behavior of 
the stranger, and could not understand how a man could be 
so fashionable and so cordial at the same time. 

When at last Sam announced that he would go to the 
fields, she accompanied him to the farm-gate to show him 
the way, in spite of her lameness, and asked him to be sure 
and call again. 

He first saw the women in the vegetable patch, diligently 
plying their hoes. Coming up from behind he saw the 
three bent backs, and under short skirts six bare legs. Thus 
they stood in a row as if on exhibition. 

Sam had come up close to them, unnoticed on the soft 
meadow path. Then he stopped, and was lost in what he 
saw. He always took what came his way. 

At last he cleared his throat. The hoes at once ceased 
working and three heads were turned in his direction. 
There he stood on his short bow-legs, with his feet far 
apart, his stomach sticking out, and smilingly addressed 
the women: " How do you do, ladies? It is very warm 
today," adding that he hoped they would not tire them- 
selves. 

Therese, the oldest and boldest of the three, replied that 
he had better take a hoe himself, it would help him to get 
rid of his fat. But probably, she said, he did not know what 
honest work was. 

The two girls, Toni and Ernestine, snickered at their 



FARMEE BUTTNER 393 

sister-in-law's quick repartee, but Sam who did not appear 
to be offended, remarked that he had chosen a different 
career from hoeing vegetables, and inquired where he could 
find farmer Biittner. 

The woman studied the clothes of the stranger. Seen in 
broad daylight, his coUar was far from clean, and his vest 
showed several grease spots. Toni was an innocent crea- 
ture, not given to finding fault. Therese, however, and 
httle Ernestine were exceedingly critical, and he had hardly 
gone beyond earshot when they made fun of his homely 
mouth, which was insufficiently hidden by his red beard, 
of his bow-legs, and the latent lasciviousness of his whole 
bearing, which had not escaped their sharp eyes. 

In the meanwhile Karl, who was hauling potatoes nearby, 
had run up to the stranger and told him that his father was 
in the further field, indicating the direction with his whip. 
Sam studied the tall young man, asked him whether he 
was the farmer's son, and finally requested to be shown 
the fields. 

Karl called to his wife to watch the horses, and followed 
the stranger. 

Sam walked around several fields, examining the soil ever 
and anon with his stick which was provided with a long 
metal tip. He also asked many questions of his companion 
about the boundary lines, the neighbors, the roads, the 
rotation of crops, the water supply, and the average yield 
of the several crops. Even the more intimate family affairs 
seemed to interest him. Karl was astonished at the many 
questions, but it never occurred to him to keep back any- 
thing. On the contrary, he answered every question hon- 
estly and to the best of his knowledge. 

When they approached the woods, they could see the old 
farmer with a big gray bag tied in front of him walking 
up aad down and scattering the seed over the field in well 
measured handfuls. 

The wild state of this field, which was called the bush- 
land, from the neighboring woodlot, had at last been 



394 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

intolerable to the old man. As soon, therefore, as the rest 
of the farm had been attended to, he had started on the 
cultivation of this lot. He had ploughed it himself and 
prepared part of it sufficiently for seeding. Since it was 
late in the spring he was sowing there a mixture of oats 
and peas. 

At first he did not recognize Harrassowitz, who had to 
recall himself to the old man. But then he shook him by 
the hand and exclaimed : ' ' Mr. Harrassowitz, I almost 
failed to recognize you. It is nice of you to come out here 
to visit us." 

Biittner's pleasure was genuine, because he appreciated 
the visit which the city-man was making him in the 
country, and to a certain extent he was even proud of it. 
He quickly rempved his bag of seed and gave it to Karl to 
carry, whereupon the three men slowly returned along the 
meadow path to the house. Karl walked in respectful dis- 
tance behind his father and the stranger. 

Harrassowitz had a word of praise for everything he 
saw. The soil, he observed, was excellent, the meadows in 
splendid condition, and the appearance of the fields re- 
markably good. These words were like honey to the honest 
old farmer, who smiled delightedly. 

" You will have a splendid harvest, my dear Mr. Biitt- 
ner! " Sam said. '' I am glad of it, for these fields repre- 
sent a great amount of labor, I can tell ! ' ' 

" God grant that you are right," Biittner replied, cross- 
ing himself. He was not pleased that Sam had given words 
to his prophecy. One should not do that for fear of pre- 
venting its fulfilment. "We could use a good harvest, 
heaven knows. But — there's many a slip between the cup 
and the lip," he sighed, for during the past days he had 
been greatly worried. 

His brother-in-law Kaschelernst had sent him a regis- 
tered letter, calling his mortgage of seventeen hundred 
marks. This had come like a bolt out of a clear sky. Where 
could he get the money for this mortgage which was entered 



FAEMER BTJTTNER 395 

as the last of all Ms mortgages? But the way in which it 
had been called had angered Bxittner even more than the 
fact that he would have to look for money elsewhere. It 
had made him downright furious, A registered letter! 
Had such a thing ever happened before? He saw in it a 
special manifestation of Kaschelemst 's meanness. A regis- 
tered letter ! He had even been obliged to sign a paper for 
the postman ! And his brother-in-law lived only a few hun- 
dred feet up the road from him. If necessary one could 
shout a message from one house to the other. 

If Kaschelemst had met his brother-in-law on that day 
there probably would have been an accident. 

And this was not all, for so far as the farmer was con- 
cerned the shoe was pinching in several places. The man 
of whom he had bought his new cow without having been 
able to pay for her completely, had definitely demanded 
the balance due him; and then his county taxes also had 
become overdue. Biittner had counted his cash over and 
over again and found it insufficient, nor did he know where 
to get more. He would have to pass payment on several 
debts, and in the distance the spectre of a forced sale 
loomed anew. 

** Isn't it like the visible blessing of God," Sam ex- 
claimed, stopping by the big field of rye close to the barn. 
" Really here the soil is yielding better than pure gold! " 

These words untied the farmer's tongue, but he did not 
blunder at once into the subject that troubled him. On the 
contrary, he began a long way off, as is the custom with 
silent and suspicious country folks, and only gradually 
came around to his main theme. 

. Harrassowitz let him talk, and listened sympathetically. 
When Biittner at last had come to the point of revealing 
his precarious position, Sam looked sad and troubled. He 
was very sorry, he said. " Tell me, my dear Biittner, what 
do you think will happen? Your creditors will not be 
satisfied with your promises. What wiU be the outcome 
of it all? " 



396 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" Well, Mr. Harrassowitz, don't you know a way out? " 

" I ! But, my dear Sir, how should I know a way! I am 
a merchant, and unfamiliar with farm conditions. ' ' 

" I thought . . . you could perhaps ... as regards 
money . . ." 

' ' But, my friend, for what do you take me ? " 

" I only thought, because you have already once . . . 
because you so kindly assisted me the other time! " 

' ' Oh, you mean the affair with Schonberger ! Well, you 
see, matters were more favorable then. At that time you 
needed money for a perfectly secure mortgage. But now 
. . . No, these are things with which an honest merchant 
does not like to concern himself." 

After that they continued their way in silence, the old 
farmer in deep despair. With all his recent cares he had 
silently placed his hope in Harrassowitz. If everything 
failed, he had thought, he would turn to him, and Sam 
would help him. Now this hope also was gone. 

They had almost reached the gate and were passing along 
the back of the bam, when Harrassowitz suddenly stopped. 
" Biittner," he said, " I have thought matters over; you 
should receive help ! Let another harden his heart against 
giving succor to a man who has labored as honestly as you ! 
I cannot do it. I will get the money for you, although I 
do not yet know where. My own money is invested in my 
business. Men like myself cannot always do what they 
wish, but you shall have what you need, enough to pay your 
pressing debts. After that we shall find ways and means 
to take up the mortgage. Tell me, how much do your run- 
ning debts amount to? " 

The old man trembled with joy at this sudden help. His 
good fortune had come so unexpectedly that he was unable 
to think clearly for some time. He figured, and named a 
sum, and then he took it back, and was floundering between 
his own figures, not knowing which were right and which 
were wrong. 

Sam tried to quiet him by cordial pats on his shoulder : 



FAEMER BUTTNER 397 

" Slowly, slowly, my friend. Don't get excited! We shall 
have time enough to figure it out in peace. Now let us look 
at your barn an.d stables. ' ' 

They entered, and Sam's experienced eye sized up the 
value of the cattle. One cow was afflicted with tympanitis, 
and he knew just what advice to give. In the barn he was 
especially interested in the sills and beams. He even 
looked into the shed and investigated whether the overshed 
was watertight. Then they went into the garden, where he 
picked, in passing, a narcissus for his buttonhole, and 
rested a moment on the wooden bench around the apple 
tree which faced the western gable of the dwelling house. 

Nothing, he said, gave him greater pleasure than the 
idyllic charm of country life; and after a careful glance 
at the pretty house he added that he would love to give up 
his business and become a farmer. 

In the meanwhile Mrs. Biittner had made coffee of an 
excellence unknown in her house, and appeared in the 
garden where she made a bow to Sam in spite of her corpu- 
lence, and asked the gentlemen to come to a simple repast. 

She served butter, cheese, honey, and brown bread, of all 
of which Sam partook, winning an even warmer place in 
Mrs. Biittner 's heart because he was not at all fastidious. 

When he had eaten and drunk enough, he leaned back in 
his chair, drew a cigar case from his pocket, and asked: 
" Do you permit smoking? After a good cup of coffee, a 
cigar is in order ! ' ' Then he took a heavy pocketbook out 
and laid it on the table before him. 

" Shall we now talk business, Mr. Biittner? That is, if 
you wish." 

During all this time Biittner had remained alone in one 
corner of the room, where he had noted several figures with 
chalk on the brown wall. When Sam spoke, he wiped the 
figures off with his coat sleeve and approached his friend, 
to whom he said in a low voice, "I'll need about 300 marks 
to pay my current debts. ' ' 

Sam opened his pocketbook and looked through his 
papers. 



398 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" Let the women leave tlie room for a while,-' the farmer 
said when he noticed that Ernestine and Therese were 
curiously watching the dealer. " Mother and you, Karl, 
may stay here! " 

While the three younger women left the room, Sam took 
several yellow bills from his pocketbook and said: " By a 
lucky chance I collected some money today. I do not gen- 
erally carry so much." He then put three hundred-mark 
bills on the table, and retaining the rest in his hand, added: 
' ' There you are, my dear Biittner ! Had I perhaps better 
give you another hundred marks since I happen to have 
them? " 

The farmer stared at the money without touching it or 
saying a word. 

"I'll allow you as much credit as you wish, Biittner. 
Such a good , manager, and such a harvest in the fields! 
Your signature means as much to me as actual cash." 

The old man felt dizzy. He looked from the dealer to 
his wife near him. Could he trust his senses, and was this 
not a dream? Here on the table was as much money as he 
needed, and even more to free him from all his cares! 
And there sat a man who was actually urging it upon him. 
What could he make of it? 

Unable to think clearly himself he was on the point of 
asking his son's advice when he noticed that Karl was 
watching the whole procedure with a vacant and uncom- 
prehending stare. He, therefore, turned his questioning 
eyes upon his wife, who nodded her head and encouraged 
him by saying: " Take it, Traugott, of course you must 
take it. This gentleman is kindly disposed toward us. — 
Aren't you? " 

Thereupon the farmer reached out his hand to take the 
money, when Harrassowitz said : ' ' One moment ! There 
is another small matter." He placed his pocketbook on 
top of the bills, and continued : ' ' Only to have everything 
done properly. We are always in God's hands and do not 
know how quickly He may send His summons for us. Then 



. FARMER BUTTNER 399 

there are no proofs, and this we do not want to happen, 
do we?" 

He had taken a small printed blank from his pocketbook, 
and asked whether there were pen and ink in the house. 
While Karl went to get them, Harrassowitz continued: 
" Things must be done properly. That is a duty which 
an honest merchant owes to himself. ' ' Then taking up the 
pen which was handed to him he wrote, ' ' Four hundred 
marks. That is right so, isn't it? " No one spoke, but the 
old farmer was breathing so deeply that he could be heard 
anywhere in the room. " Well then; will you please sign 
here," and Sam handed the pen to the farmer. 

For awhile Biittner stood there, hesitating and turning 
the paper over and over. In his helplessness he glanced 
from his wife to his son and to Harrassowitz, who admon- 
ished him to read the paper before signing it. " One should 
never sign a paper unread." Buttner raised the note with 
trembling bands and studied it a long while. 

" Don 't be afraid, my friend. Everything is written there 
that should be there," Sam's jocose voice broke in upon 
his meditation. ' ' Everything is all right. No one could 
make matters easier for you. Here is the money, and here 
yon agree to repay me on the first of October of this year. 
Before then you will have garnered your crops. I cannot 
possibly offer you more liberal terms. This slip of paper 
is necessary to secure me ; a mere matter of form, nothing 
more. Well then ; please ! ' ' 

But the old man still hesitated, and one could see from 
his expression that he was fighting a mighty struggle with 
himself. 

Then Sam assumed a more gloomy air. " I almost be- 
lieve Mr. Buttner has no confidence in me," he said to Mrs. 
Buttner. " If that is so, I had better take my money back, 
for I do not wish to force it on anyone. I only thought that 
I could do a favor to this gentleman, but if he does not 
care ..." and Sam stretched his hairy hand to take up 
the bills. 



400 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

But Mrs. Biittner quickly poked her husband in the ribs, 
exclaiming: "Traugott! Don't be a fool! Why don't 
you sign the paper? " Then she pulled his sleeve and 
whispered in his ear, " If you wait much longer, he'll be 
angry ! ' ' 

She gave him the pen herself, and Sam said pointing to 
a line : ' ' There please, right here, Mr. Biittner . . . No, 
a little more to the right . . . There! . . . Only your 
name. ' ' 

And so farmer Biittner signed the note. 

[The harvest turned out badly. Heavy rains beat the 
grain down and much rye rotted in the fields. Biittner 
worked harder than ever, but in vain. When he saw that 
he would be unable to pay his taxes and interests and also 
his note to Harrassowitz, he went to town, but neither 
Harrassowitz nor Schonberger were willing to admit him. 
In the ofiSce of the former he was even curtly dismissed by 
a young man named Schmeiss.J 

VI 

A few days later, the same Mr. Schmeiss who had snubbed 
Biittner in Harrassowitz' office, arrived in Halbenau in a 
hired carriage. A young lady was with him, and while he 
visited the farm, she strolled through the village street to 
the delight of the children who had never seen such high 
heels, such a waist, and such modish sleeves. 

Edmund Schmeiss, a young man of medium height with 
a daring little mustache and curly hair, turned up his nose 
when he passed the compost heap in the courtyard and 
mumbled contemptuously, " Regular country ways! " His 
light-gray suit of faultless cut, and his entire bearing were, 
to use his own favorite expression, Al, although experts 
would have noted the absence of the haU mark of reliability. 
His manners were borrowed from somewhere, probably 
from the army-officers or the younger set of government 
officials, but his choice had not always been good. 



FARMEE BUTTNER 401 

It would not have been easy to define accurately Mr. 
Schmeiss' position in life. Harrasaowitz spoke of Tiim as 
"A young man devoted to me," but he " worked " also for 
Schonberger, although no one seemed to be able to say ex- 
actly what he did for him. He often was his dummy in the 
purchase of farms or city real estate, and appeared at 
forced sales as one of the bidders. When a small merchant 
or an artisan was in pecuniary difficulties, Mr. Schmeiss 
turned up as the saviour in distress. He was always ready 
to discount a note, or to find a ' ' third ' ' man to loan money, 
provided the borrower was willing to make a * * slight sacri- 
fice," as Mr. Schweiss called his commission, which was 
never small. He was a drummer for ell kinds of unregis- 
tered business houses, and claimed to be the authorized 
representative of corporations which did not wish to be 
named, because they had not yet been fully organized. 
There was no time, when he had not at least half a dozen 
"splendid bargains" to offer. In short he was a very 
useful, practical and smart young man, equally at home in 
many situations, and familiar with the law and the 
practice of the courts. He preferred to call himself a 
" commissioner." 

Edmund Schweiss then entered the Buttner house just 
about noontime, and found the family at table. He re- 
quested them not to trouble themselves on his account, and 
it must be confessed that he stood on no ceremony with 
them either, for without much ado he asked the old farmer, 
before his whole family, whether he was ready to pay his 
note which had come due that day. 

All the Biittners had risen and were looking frightened 
and astonished at the strange intruder, who seemed per- 
fectly at home. It took some time for the old farmer to 
find a reply, but at last he said he had to do only with 
Mr. Harrassowitz. 

"Nonsense, Harrassowitz!" Edmund Schweiss ex- 
claimed, " I am the man now. You will have to pay me, 
you may assure yourself. This is his indorsement." 

Vol. XVII — 26 



402 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

With these words he offered Biittner the note requesting 
him to look on the back. 

The farmer saw that something was written there, appar- 
ently a name. But what had he to do with that? How did 
this young man who had never given him a penny, suddenly 
happen to be his creditor? 

He shook his head and declared that he owed money only 
to Harrassowitz. 

Edmund Schmeiss grew impatient and cried: "Good 
Lord! Don't you understand? You have acknowledged 
the receipt of the money, and this is your signature, 
isn't it?" 

The farmer assented without looking again carefully at 
his signature. 

" Do you acknowledge having received value? I mean, 
do you confess that you received four hundred marks from 
Mr. Harrassowitz at the time here indicated? " 

' ' Yes, yes, I received the money all right from Mr. Har- 
rassowitz, at this very table. — You remember, wife, don't 
you? " She nodded. " Yes, sir, I received it." 

' ' Well then ! Harrassowitz has discounted your note.— 
This is a three-months note. — Then he has indorsed the 
note to me. I am, therefore, the present owner of the note. 
Everything is perfectly clear, unless you assert that I have 
come illegally into the possession of your receipt. Do you 
assert this? " 

The farmer looked on in a most perplexed way. He did 
not understand a word. But since his visitor had much 
assurance and seemed deeply offended, he finally and in a 
very low voice said, ' ' No. ' ' 

" Of course not! " Edmund Schmeiss replied, frowning 
and opening his eyes wide. ' ' Well then, I now present to 
you your note. It is due. I ask you whether you accept? " 

The farmer looked even more perplexed than before, 
while the faces of the others showed a variety of feelings, 
in which consternation and fear of the stranger predomi- 
nated, for that little piece of paper seemed to have given 
him power over their father and all of them. 



FARMER BTJTTNER 403 

" I am asking you, Mr, Biittner, whether you will pay me ? 
And it seems to me that this is not difficult to understand." 

The old man wished to see the note again, and when he 
had received it he turned it over and over in his trembling 
hands, and looked disconsolately about. The letters swam 
before his eyes, and he was obliged to sit down. 

At this juncture his wife sent the children from the room, 
for she did not wish to have them see their father in his 
weakness. Then she stepped to his side and said, "Be 
quiet, Traugott, be quiet ! ' ' 

But he burst out in a high and breaking voice, full of 
despair : ' * Grood God in Heaven ! What shall I do ? — 
What do you want of me, here ? ' ' 

" Payment! Nothing more! Pay me, Mr. Biittner, atfd 
everything is all right, ' ' was his cool reply. 

"And the money! Where shall I get the money? You 
know, I haven't got it." 

Edmund Schmeiss shrugged his shoulders, whistling the 
latest popular tune and keeping time with his foot, and 
looked about the room. 

In the meanwhile the two old people conversed in half- 
tones. The farmer still had some money in his box from 
the sale of his rye which he had been obliged to sell a few 
days ago in spite of the low prices. But since he had paid 
the October interest on his mortgages and his taxes, there 
was not much left, certainly not enough to redeem his note. 

Cold sweat had gathered on his brow. His eyes were 
fixed, his jaws were trembling, and in utter collapse on his 
chair he offered a pitiful sight. His wife tried to console 
him. " Courage, husband! Control yourself ! This gen- 
tleman will be good and show a little patience." 

Then she turned to the young man coaxingly and very 
humbly began to stroke his hand : ' ' Won't you, sir? You 
wiU give my good man a little time? We'll give you our 
promise, and we will try hard. We shall pay you every- 
thing." 

Edmund Schmeiss replied very coolly, he knew all that 
from experience, and he could do nothing of the kind. He 



404 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

had bought the note as a good one, because Harrassowitz 
had told him that Biittner was a reliable man. He had 
counted on getting his money, and had planned on it. Con- 
sequently he must insist on receiving his pay. If he did 
not get it, he should be obliged to go to court. 

" You won't sue us? " Mrs. Biittner exclaimed in greatest 
horror, and when he replied that this was his right, she 
almost yelled: "Oh God in Heaven! " Her trembling 
fingers groped for her mouth, and weeping and moaning 
she repeated over and over again: " What will become of 
us? Oh husband, what will become of us? " The farmer 
groaned. 

Unspeakable fear had seized both the old people. Their 
ideas of the law were very confused, and back of every suit 
there loomed, in their imagination, a prison cell, for one 
was as helpless before a judge as before a lawyer. They 
already saw the sheriff take their last cow from the tie-up. 
If the stranger entered suit, everything was lost. 

The. brave farmer who in two campaigns had given evi- 
dence of his courage, shook like an aspen leaf. He who 
was generally calm was bereft of his reason, before this 
calamity. His eyes had grown big with fright, his dignity 
had forsaken him, and he, the man of sixty, sadly watched 
the face and expression of the young man whose pleasure 
or displeasure, he believed, would seal his fate. 

Edmund Schmeiss drew a big gold watch from his pocket, 
opened it and cried : "I must be going, a lady is waiting 
for me outside. Goodby, my good people. ' ' 

He turned to go, but Mrs. Biittner ran after him, took 
hold of him, prayed and begged him to stay. 

' ' Well, weU I If there is anything more, please hurry. 
Time is money." 

The old people conferred again, although Biittner was 
as if stunned, and replied to everything his wife said, with 
" I know nothing — nothing! " 

" Then I will make a proposal," young Mr. Schmeiss 
said, " that we may at last conclude this matter, for I am 



FARMEE BUTTNEB 406 

beginning to be bored. — Give me all the cash you have, and 
write me a new note for the balance. Do yon understand? 
The new note may run to the last of December. I shall, of 
course, take interest. Ten per cent, is my regular rate on 
a three-months note, and my commission amounts to three 
per cent. These are very liberal terms considering your 
financial instability. — Do you agree? " 

The farmer had not understood him except in so far that 
he believed the immediate danger of a law-suit had passed. 
He, therefore, ran to his secret box and counted the money 
he found there with trembling fingers. There were a few 
pennies over one hundred and twenty marks. Edmund 
Schmeiss counted the money too and placed the large coins 
in his pocket while he pushed the pennies' and nickels over 
to the farmer. "I never bother with nickels," he said. 
Then he took his gold pencU from his watch chain and 
began to figure. ' ' Well then, I have received in cash, one 
hundred and twenty marks. Balance due two hundred and 
eighty marks. Isn't it so, Mr. Biittner? " The farmer 
hesitated a bit and then nodded his assent * ' Including 
interest and cost — you understand my commission and 
interest for Harrassowitz and myself — three hundred and 
sixty marks in all. You owe me, therefore, in addition to 
the one hundred and twenty marks just paid, three hundred 
and sixty. Please remember this figure. Now, kindly give 
me a new note for this amount. You understand? I shall 
then destroy the old note before your eyes. All right! 
That is simple." 

Then he took a blank from his pocket and as if suddenly 
thinking of something added : "By the way, three hun- 
dred and sixty marks is a poor figure. Why didn't I think 
of it before? You can always make use of a fertilizer on 
a farm, and I can sell you patent food for the cows, which 
you will very much need considering the poor hay harvest, 
also a splendid preparation of linseed meal. What do you 
say? Let's write six hundred marks, and for the remain- 
ing two hundred and twenty marks I'll send you fertilizer 
and patented food. That'll square us, won't it? " 



406 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The farmer looked with vacant eyes at the young man 
who remarked: "Don't you understand, Mr. Biittner? 
Really, the matter is very simple." He went over his cal- 
culations, and asked: " Do you agree? " 

Biittner thought matters over before saying very humbly 
that he had never believed in artificial fertilizers, and had 
no use for the patented food, since he hoped to get through 
the winter all right on his second crop of hay. He wanted, 
please, to be spared these other things. 

' ' AU right ! ' ' Edmund Schmeiss replied. * ' As you wish, 
Mr. Biittner ! I thought that I had met you more than half- 
way. But if you prefer . . . " "With that he rose, but- 
toned his coat, and walked to the door. But Mrs. Biittner 
again ran after him and persuaded him to stay. " Hus- 
band, Traugott, do be reasonable! " she urged the farmer. 
' ' If this gentleman is so accommodating to you ! Be sensi- 
ble and take what he'll give you." 

Biittner sat in his chair with bowed head, unable to object 
with another word while his wife went to fetch pen and ink. 
She offered them to young Mr. Schmeiss with an ingratiat- 
ing manner and tried to win his favor -with a smile from 
her old toothless mouth: " "Will the pen suit you, sir? " 
she said. ' ' You must be indulgent, for we do not often 
write here." 

Edmund Schmeiss fiUed out one of the blanks, and as 
soon as Biittner had signed it, tore up the old note. Hand- 
ing the pieces to Biittner, he remarked that it was settled. 

Then he took his departure, calling back from the door: 
* ' You will receive the goods very soon, Mr. Biittner, Al 
quality, of course! — I have the honor! " 

On the street, his lady-friend was impatiently waiting 
for him. She had inspected the sights of Halbenau — 
church, rectory, school, poorhouse and fire station. There 
was nothing else worth seeing. The village pond was dirty, 
because the geese flocked about there day and night; and 
most of the houses were small and poor with nothing but 
thatched roofs. The children too, playing in the streets. 



FARMER BUTTNER 407 

uncombed and unwashed, and their little noses running with 
colds, were disgusting in the eyes of the " lady." 

Some women were returning from the fields with rakes 
and baskets over their shoulders, followed by a company 
of young fellows. The girls quickly noticed the strange 
apparition in the village street and, whispering comments to 
each other, laughed a good deal, while the boys significantly 
nudged them. 

The city dame, who was indignant at these signs of coun- 
try insolence, dropped her veil just as the young people 
were passing her. The fellows openly stared at her, while 
the girls snickered audibly, and when one cried, " Look, she 
wears a mosquito net, ' ' all burst out laughing. 

When Edmund Schmeiss came up to his friend, he found 
her outraged at the vulgarity of the villagers. 

[In the meanwhile Gustav had decided to leave the army 
and marry Pauline. When he arrived home, and learned 
how matters stood with his father, he visited his Uncle 
Karl Leberecht in the hope of securing his intervention, 
but was unsuccessful. Captain Schorff, however, was hope- 
ful that the count would take his advice and assist Biittner.J 

VII 

Kaschelernst had gone to town, largely to do errands and 
leave orders for his hostelry. On such occasions he had to 
do with brewers and dealers in cigars, liquors and wine, 
none of whom were averse to treating a " friend," when a 
bargain was struck. He had, therefore, acquired a very 
happy frame of mind early in the afternoon, but since he 
rarely drank so much that he became insensible, today was 
no exception, and although he was dangerously unsteady 
on his short legs, and his rat-like face had taken on a purple 
hue, he was perfectly clear in his head, and his cunning 
was no whit dulled by his rosy outlook on life. 

In such a mood he went to visit his friend Sam in the 
latter 's office. 



408 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Mr. Kaschel of Halbenau was a welcome gaest in the 
graindealer's quarters, and was shown immediately to 
Sam's private office, for he generally came with important 
information from the country districts. 

There two drinks were served, while one topic after 
another was lightly touched upon. Kaschelernst related 
many interesting matters, for he heard much in his popular 
hostelry that others did not know ; his choicest bit, however, 
he reserved for the end. It was, he said, winking his eyes, 
a bit of news which would interest both of them. The 
Count of Saland intended to come to the assistance of 
Farmer Biittner. 

The dealer jumped up in alarm. * ' But that is terrible ! " 

" It is just as I say, ' ' Kaschelernst gave back. The coiint 
wiU pay my mortgage. Biittner is to remain on his farm. 
That's so!" 

Harrassowitz cursed, and asked whether Kaschelernst 
was sure. Perhaps he had been wrongly informed. But 
the other insisted that the count was' negotiating with him 
concerning the mortgage. ' * I needn 't complain, ' ' he added 
with a cunning smile. ' ' If the count pays me, I shall get 
my money all right." 

' ' You would have got your money all right anyhow, if 
we had turned the trick together," Harrassowitz exclaimed 
angrily. "And I should have let you in on the profits too. 
You know that very well, Kaschel. This is against our 
agreement. It will help the farmer to get to his feet. 
Damned scoundrels these aristocrats ! They must have a 
finger in every pie. Whiat business has the count to mix 
up in this affair? He is spoiling the prices for honest 
people ! ' ' 

Harrassowitz felt genuinely outraged, for he looked upon 
the help which the count had offered to Biittner as a per- 
sonal injustice and the illicit interference of an outsider in 
his own domain. 

Kaschelernst smiled and rubbed his hands together in 
silent amusement, for he was pleased to see Sam's anger. 



FARMER BUTTNER 409 

Th«n he emptied his glass and said as lie was leaving : 
" Well, there won't be anything doing this time." 

Sam was very angry. The -thought that he should lose 
Biittner's farm was painful to him. He had already made 
his secret dispositions as if the farm were his, and had 
actually entered negotiations concerning a steam brick 
factory which he had meant to buUd there. He also had 
settled in his mind just which fields he would keep and 
which ones he would sell. His chief profit, however, would 
have come from the woods, for which the Saland estate was 
to pay him an exorbitant price. All these plans were to be 
spoiled by what he had learned from Kaschelernst, for if 
the count would really assume the Biittner liabilities, then 
there would be no forced sale as Sam had hoped. He had 
spent much time and careful thought on this business, and 
suddenly both threatened to go to waste. That was most 
annoying ! 

Sam, however, was not in the habit of nursing his wrath. 
It took time to be angry, and " time was money." He 
valued money far too highly to place it on a lost cause. 
He, therefore, exerted his reasoning power to see if per- 
haps something could not still be done ; and soon he had hit 
upon the right idea. 

What was Schmeiss there for ! He had had more than 
one proof of the daring and craftiness of this young feUow. 
Edmund Schmeiss was the proper man in this difficulty 
also! Sam's plan was as follows: The owner of Saland 
was a cavalry captain stationed in Berlin. Sam did not 
know him personally, but knew that he was a man of fashion 
who did not take much personal interest in his estate. 
During the summer and early autumn the count and his 
family used to spend a few weeks in Saland ; for the rest, 
his duties and the demands of society kept him in the cap- 
ital. With the details of farm management, therefore, he 
did not concern himself, for he had several men in his 
employ to attend to such matters. He probably cared only 
for the revenues of his estate, and was satisfied to give its 



410 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

management as little thought as possible. It was, more- 
over, a fair assumption that the count would not know 
much of his small tenants and farmers, and their affairs. 
Probably his own appointees had told him all he knew of 
such matters. What interest then could the count have in 
Farmer Biittner? Samuel Harrassowitz was not naive 
enough to believe that the count harbored any strong 
interest in the survival of a vigorous stock of independent 
farmers; for didn't he know the gentlemen of the nobility! 
Indeed he did! Probably the count had his eye on the 
woods of the farm which he wanted to add to his own pre- 
serves. This then was the perfectly tangible and selfish 
reason which had induced the great lord to come to the 
assistance of the small farmer. 

The question, therefore, arose, how could the count be 
kept from doing this? It was a very ticklish business and 
would have to be attended to with tact. 

Such aristocrats were exclusive, and did not like it if 
people were insistent. But they took life easy, and made 
their decisions quickly. It was, therefore, not difficult to 
persuade them and sweep them off their feet. The most 
important thing was that the polite forms and the laws of 
etiquette were scrupulously observed. 

Sam knew himself well enough to be quite sure that 
nothing could be done if he himself went to Berlin and 
called on the count. He did not consider himself vulgar, 
but he knew that the tastes of people like the count were 
difficult, especially when they were cavalry officers. He 
deemed it best, therefore, to keep his own personality in 
the background. But Edmund Schmeiss — that was a dif- 
ferent matter! He was a well appearing young man, 
always properly dressed, and with his fine manners inva- 
riably Al. Sam had always taken great pleasure in the 
smart bearing of his protege, and had no doubts at all that 
the "commissioner's" appearance would win also the 
count's favor. 

Edmund Schmeiss, therefore, was chosen to make the 



FARMEE BUTTNER • 411 

trip to Berlin, after an agreement had been reached con- 
cerning his commission, as behooved careful business men. 

Sam always liked to combine several matters, if this 
could be done, and since he had undertaken the expense of 
sending his commissioner to Berlin, he gave him several 
other matters to attend to, for he had many connections 
there. Schmeiss was told to call on some men in the 
produce exchange, and to sound them on a variety of sub- 
jects, for Sam wanted to know what people at the source 
were thinking, especially regarding the futures in wheat. 
The Berlin reports for about a week had been: " Wheat 
steady, prices, firm." But Sam was suspicious lest this 
be only the lull before the storm. The offerings were not 
large, but the prices did not rise ! Rye had gone down, and 
there was not much doing in barley. A number of large 
dealers probably were fishing in the dark, taking advantage 
of the low prices and buying ahead in order to send the 
prices soaring when they had bought enough. It would be 
exceedingly interesting to find out exactly what the big 
dealers in wheat were doing. If one could get some ad- 
vance information, one could trim one'» sails to the wind. 

Edmund Schmeiss, therefore, went to Berlin. First he 
bought in a haberdashery a new silk hat, a pair of brick- 
colored gloves and a wonderfully bright necktie. He did 
not ask for an appointment because he feared a refusal, 
and decided to surprise the count, and if necessary to force 
an entry. He hired an expensive cab and asked the driver 
to wait. Nothing should be left undone that could make 
a good impression. So he drove to ' ' The Pavillion ' ' where 
the count resided, as he had learned from the directory. 

A brougham drove up almost at the moment of his 
arrival; a footman opened the door and an officer in the 
uniform of the Ulans descended, accompanied by a lady. 
The officer gave some directions to the footman before he 
followed the lady into the house. 

Edmund Schmeiss who had watched this scene intently 
and had impressed the faces on his memory, walked up to 



412 . THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

the brougham, and taking off his ha^t asked the coachmaa 
who the lady and gentleman were. He learned that they 
were the count and the countess. 

The ' ' commissioner ' ' was satisfied, for he now knew 
that the count was at home. Looking again at the carriage, 
he saw that everything, from the harness and liveries down 
to the rugs and the gloves of the coachman and the foot- 
man, was of the best, tasteful and solid. 

Edmund Schmeiss waited a few minutes, walking to and 
fro on the sidewalk, before he rang the bell. A butler 
opened the door, and although Mr. Schmeiss had assumed 
a nonchalant and superior air which he believed would 
impress a servant, this tall, smooth-shaven gray beard, with 
the bearing of a lord, gave bim only one searching look 
before he said that the count was not at home. He was 
on the point of closing the door when the " commissioner," 
who understood things as quickly as he knew how to act 
upon them, jumped half way in and shouted with a voice 
that was meant to reach the farthest room : ' ' Tell the 
count that I have important news for him from Saland. 
Here is my card. ' ' , 

The butler read the card, looked at Schmeiss, shrugged 
his shoulders and disappeared. 

After a rather long wait he came back to the door and 
seemed even more contemptuous than before. The count, 
he said, was at luncheon and sent word that the visitor 
should return later, if he desired an interview. 

Edmund Schmeiss reflected. Should he leave and return 
in an hour? Possibly the count would then again be " not 
at home " for him. Wasn't the whole message perhaps a 
trick to get rid of him? No ! he would remain in the house 
he had entered. This was an advantage he would not 
renounce. 

He, therefore, told the butler that he preferred to wait 
until the luncheon was over. The old man measured him 
with a contemptuous look and ushered him into a room, 
" This way, please. Ton may wait here." 



FAEMEE BUTTNER 413 

The ' ' commissioner ' ' found himself in a narrow room 
with one window, a kind of a dressing-room where fur coats 
and other garments hung on hooks and several pairs of 
shoes stood on a shelf. A couch stood on one side,, and the 
pictures on the walls had apparently been mustered out 
elsewhere. The room was not heated. 

Although Edmund Schmeiss had no strongly developed 
sense of self-respect, he felt considerably hurt. His vanity 
had been offended, because the butler had not acknowledged 
him as a gentleman, in spite of his silk hat and smart 
clothes. He studied himself in a big mirror that hung in 
one comer and had probably been relegated here because 
it was badly cracked. So far as he could see, he was 
altogether Al, and might have been an officer in civilian 
clothes, a baron, or a count. It was remarkable what a fine 
scent these lackeys had! 

Schmeiss, however, was not the man to be long depressed 
by painful experiences. His treatment had not been what 
you might call friendly, but such were the chances of busi- 
ness. As to his success thus far, it was incontestable. He 
had got near the count, and it was inconceivable that he 
should not be received after this. In his business the most 
difficult, and also the most important, thing was to get at 
his people. Since he had been admitted to the count's 
house, he no longer doubted his ultimate success. 

He sat down on the couch and looked about. There were 
several lamps on the table, some of majolica, others of 
bronze, and still others of porcelain, true masterpieces from 
the Eoyal Factory in Berlin. A winter in Berlin, as the 
count spent it, must cost money, with his entire family here, 
with his servants and carriages and an apartment in ' ' The 
Pavillion." Schmeiss made a quick estimate. 

Suddenly his attention was attracted elsewhere, for he 
heard noises in the next room, the rattling of dishes and 
many voices. It must be the dining room ! He could recog- 
nize the voices of women. The people in there seemed to 
be having a good time, for they laughed much. Schmeiss 



414 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

changed his seat that he might hear better. He had never 
yet dined with counts and countesses, and it would be inter- 
esting to know how they talked when they were alone. 

His hearing was good, but at first he could catch only 
disjointed words and sentences which conveyed no meaning 
to him. Luncheon seemed to be over, for he could hear no 
more rattling of dishes, although the animated conversation 
continued. When he had learned to distinguish the voices, 
he could occasionally understand some things. 

The people seemed to discuss very unimportant matters. 
He had caught a few names; there was a " Wanda " and 
an " Ida." The count apparently had the members of his 
immediate family at table. 

Finally there was the scraping of chairs, and it seemed as 
if grace was said, which greatly astonished Mr. Schmeiss. 
Then he heard a masculine voice say : ' ' Your excellency, 
the gentleman is still here. ' ' — Somebody asked ' ' Which 
gentleman? " and Schmeiss heard his own name mentioned, 
whereupon a man's voice said, " What in creation does he 
want ? ' ' and several girls broke out laughing : * ' Schmeiss ! 
Did you hear that? This fellow's name is Schmeiss!" 
More gay laughter and then the question : * ' How would 
you like it Ida, if your name was Mrs. Schmeiss! " — The 
rest was drowned in laughter. 

Edmund Schmeiss had blushed, a very rare happening 
with him, but he was stung by the insult to his name. He 
ground his teeth, and anybody who had seen him at this 
moment, could have guessed to what lengths this man 
would be willing to go when he was offended. 

Very soon the door from the hall was opened and the 
gray-haired butler announced that the count would receive 
his caller. Schmeiss quickly twirled his moustache, pulled 
down his cuffs, and followed the butler. 

The count received him in his study. He was tall and 
slender, and his face appeared older than his figure, for 
his blond hair had grown very thin. His nose was long and 
too pointed to be beautiful, but his eyes were bright and 



FARMER BUTTNER 415 

friendly, the only lively spots in a rather worn face that 
received a martial touch from a big moustache. The count 
wore his undress-uniform. 

Edmund Schmeiss had to fight down an annoying feeling 
of oppression as he realized that he was in the presence of 
a real aristocrat. It passed quickly, however, and he re- 
solved not to be impressed. Distinction! All right. He 
would not deny it to the count. But would his host prove 
to be as clever as he ! 

The count acknowledged the deep bow of the stranger 
with a nod of his head and pointed to a chair as a sign that 
he might sit down. Then he sat down himself. ' ' Well 

then, Mr. " The count prolonged this Mr., obviously 

trying to recollect the name. " Schmeiss is my name." 
" Quite so, Mr. Schmeiss. What brings you to me? " 

Edmund Schmeiss had advanced one foot and placed his 
silk hat on his knee. Then he began to explain the reasons 
of his visit, in the broad and fluent fashion of a drummer, 
while his manner alternated between humility and prying 
curiosity, and at times even insolent boldness. 

The count listened, but seemed bored and began to polish 
his finger nails. When he had attended to all his fingers he 
looked up and said in a somewhat nasal tone : * ' But, my 
dear fellow — I don't know — you said you brought me 
news from Saland. This was the only reason why I re- 
ceived you. I really do not see what I have to do with 
all this." 

" But yes, your Excellency. Kindly let me finish what 
I have to say. I believe that the interests of Saland are 
closely connected with my suggestion. The woods of the 
Biittner farm are contiguous to your estate. They are like 
a wedge driven in your Excellency's own forest. . . . 

"I know that probably better than you," the count, 
who was beginning to grow impatient, rejoined, " I have 
been negotiating for this woodlot for years. Now at last 
I expect to get it. There are only about fifty or sixty acres 
in the whole piece. ' ' 



416 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

" But your Excellency will have to pay far too much 
for it. We could get it for you much cheaper." 

The count regarded the speaker in. astonishment, and 
for the first time looked more closely at the man who had 
forced his presence upon him. He seemed to be a funny 
fellow ! The count laughed, ' ' Who do you think you are, 
my dear sir? Let me tell you that I need no intermediaries 
when I am dealing with one of my own farmers. ' ' 

"Your Excellency! I am not acting for myself and 
should never have taken such a liberty if I were. I am a 
commissioner, the emissary of the house of Samuel Har- 
rassowitz. You surely know this name. It is that of a 
big grain-house, and the owner is a fine and thoroughly 
honest business man. ' ' 

The count had started slightly at the name " Harrasso- 
witz." He rose to look through some papers on his desk. 
" My manager writes me," he began and runomaged again 
among his papers which did not seem to be kept very 
orderly. ' ' I cannot find his letter. ' ' The sharp eyes of the 
visitor did not fail to notice how carelessly the count looked 
through his papers before he finally said, "No matter! 
Captain Schroff tells me that this . . . this . . . the 
man you just named, . . . " 

' ' Harrassowitz ' ' Schmeiss quickly supplied, and was 
pleased to note tfiat the count had a poor memory for 
names. 

" Quite so. This Harrassowitz, he writes, is a land- 
jobber." 

This was the time for Edmund Schmeiss to play his 
trump-card. He rose with an offended air and said, " I am 
sorry that your Excellency is so badly informed. Harrasso- 
witz is a perfect gentleman; he is my friend." With these 
words he buttoned his coat as he had seen insulted heroes 
do on the stage, and prepared to leave. Insight into char- 
acter was not the count's long suit, for he was guileless and 
kindhearted by nature, and the idea of having offended 
anybody was distasteful to him. He said, therefore, in a 



FARMER BUTTNER 417 

conciliatory tone, " Never mind, you needn't go. No harm 
was meant." 

" Yes, your Excellency, but land-jobber is an ugly word. 
To think of my friend Harrassowitz in this connection, — I 
will rather not repeat your remark to him." 

The count did not notice the veiled threat that these 
words were meant to contain, and said quite innocently, 
" That's all right now. You had better sit down again, and 
do not excite yourself unduly," 

" Does your Excellency wish to hear me further? " 
Schmeiss asked with the well simulated air of a deeply hurt 
man who is nevertheless ready to let bygones be bygones. 
He really felt triumphant. 

" Please continue; and what is it you or your Harrasso- 
witz wish me to do ? I do not yet understand. There is this 
farmer — this — this — in Halbenau." 

" Biittner, your Excellency wishes to say." 

" Yes, Biittner! an old and honest chap, it seems to me, 
who is threatened with a forced sale. Captain Schroff 
writes me that he can be saved with a couple of thousand 
marks." 

" Permit me, your Excellency, to interrupt you here. 
Our experiences with old Biittner are of a different nature. 
We are of the opinion that there is a scheme on foot to 
induce your Excellency to help an undeserving man. You 
are expected to give your money in a cause which is, to say 
it mildly, very doubtful. This is the plan we happen to 
have discovered, and which I have come to Berlin to 
frustrate-." 

While Schmeiss was speaking in the "tone of an honest 
man whose sense of morality has been shocked, he watched 
the count's expression so carefully that nothing escaped 
him. If the count swallowed this, Schmeiss could give him 
a good deal more of the same sort. The count let his eyes 
rest on the speaker in amazement. His mouth was half 
open and he did not look very bright just then. After a 
Vol. XVn — 27 



418 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

while he asked : "Do you know this . . . this Biittner so 
well? " 

' ' We have had enough of an experience with him and I 
may add with his whole family, to be permitted to say that 
we know his tribe well, ' ' 

" My manager speaks highly of these people." 

" The judgment of Captain Schroff appears to me — well, 
I shan't say it because your Excellency thinks highly of 
him. But after what he has said of my friend Harrasso- 
witz, I can take no further stock iu his judgment! Your 
Excellency will understand this ! ' ' 

' ' I believe it was misfortune in his family that brought 
the old man into trouble. ' ' 

' ' Bad management, your Excellency, and nothing else ! 
The old man is a reckless manager and, I am sorry to say, 
he drinks. His sons are even worse, and with his daughters 
— one illegitimate child follows another. Your Excellency 
should make inquiries, and you will learn that I do not 
exaggerate. I have been in their house; I know these 
people. In this way the farm has naturally grown worse 
and worse. Now Biittner is in debt up to his ears. He owes 
money to Harrassowitz. I too have lost money through 
him. We have been thoroughly cheated, because we thought 
he was honest. We are going to lose our money, and other 
honest business men will fare no better. He is at odds even 
with his own family, and his brother-in-law has entered 
suit against him. Your Excellency should make inquiries. 
The whole business is more than bad." 

The count shook his head. " If that is so — then matters 
are indeed somewhat different. But why was it not pre- 
sented to me in this light? " 

" The well-known generosity of your Excellency was to 
be exploited. The people may be thinking * The count is 
far away, in Berlin, and a couple of thousand marks are 
nothing to him. ' They are counting on your kindness. But 
in this instance generosity, however beautiful it may be 
elsewhere, is not in place. Suppose your Excellency helps 



FARMER BUTTNER 419 

the man out of his difficulties this time— a few thousand 
marks, by the way, will not suffice, for I know that the old 
Biittner owes considerable sums to people who have not 
yet given notice. Even if your Excellency, therefore, 
should pay Biittner 's debts now, other demands will fol- 
low. It is like a sieve where the water you pour in runs 
through. And whatever the farmer may promise. now, after 
a year it will be the same old story. Then a new forced 
sale will be at hand. Your Excellency will experience only 
difficulties and annoyances and will lose your money." 

" But that is very sad," the count remarked in a tone 
which clearly showed that he meant it. 

" Yes it is exceedingly sad," Schmeiss echoed. 

" Such people, it seems, cannot be helped." 

" No, indeed, your Excellency! Such people cannot be 
helped," Edmund Schmeiss repeated with an important air 
and sorry countenance. ' ' No, indeed ! The papers print 
so much concerning the sad conditions of the farmers; 
especially the more liberal organs, the democratic press, 
which is always ready to blame the big estate owners. The 
lords are accused of ruining the farmers and absorbing their 
acres. But nobody tells us that the farmers themselves are 
to blame for their ruin. Yet see how they are acting ! The 
farmers are suffering from their own actions, and not from 
those of the estate owners. We have a telling proof of this 
in the case of old farmer Biittner. ' ' 

Edmund Schmeiss had recited his last sentence with a 
certain solemnity of tone and manner, as if he were reveal- 
ing his deepest thoughts. His words were not lost on the 
count. He too had heard complaints and demands which 
the advocates of a new order of things were making of the 
lords, and had been annoyed by them. This defence of the 
big owners sounded well to him. 

" Everything these democratic papers say is nonsense ! " 
he declared. " What do they know of the farming prob- 
lems? Let them go to the country to see how conditions 
really are before they write their flaming articles. Really, 



420 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

such people, editors and reporters, should be punished by 
having to work in the fields for several weeks. Isn't that 
so? Such people should have to hold the plough or load 
manure ! What is your idea? " 

The count deigned to smile at his own merry remarks, 
and Edmund Schmeiss did not neglect to join in the 
laughter. He too thought the idea excruciatingly funny. 
The tone of their conversation had undoubtedly grown 
warmer, and the count was no longer so unapproachable 
and haughty as at first. He finally asked: 

" What do you say? I suppose nobody can blame one 
under these conditions, if one leaves such a man to his well 
deserved fate? " 

" On the contrary, your Excellency. I believe it would 
be indefensible if one were to raise a finger in this case. 
Such people cannot be helped, and no reasonable person 
will dare to expect it of you. ' ' 

After this, Schmeiss found it easy to convince the count. 
People like the count, who have little judgment and great 
magnanimity, are easily persuaded to be hard. The count 
was angry because he believed that another attempt had 
been made to abuse his kindness, and he decided not to 
forgive his manager easily. 

Mr. Schmeiss left him with the feeling of having accom- 
plished his task brilliantly. He was also greatly pleased 
at the satisfaction he had obtained for his vanity, for 
toward the end the count had not treated him badly, and 
had even offered him a cigar. 

Edmund Schmeiss left the house with an increased sense 
of his own importance and the delightful conviction that 
these aristocrats are outwardly very refined, but in reality, 
exceedingly stupid. 

[After this, things moved rapidly. Like a spider who is 
ensnaring a fly, Harrassowitz was drawing his nets closer 
and closer about Biittner, until at last the farm had to be 
sold under the hammer. Mrs. Biittner died, but the old man 



FARMER BUTTNER 421 

was permitted to remain oa the place as a kind of a care- 
taker, Karl had moved away, when the farm was sold, and, 
as is brought out in several chapters devoted to him and 
his wife, was going from bad to worse. The major portion 
of the parts, which are not translated here, concern Gustav 
and his attempt at earning a living by supplying laborers 
from his village to a big sugar estate in Saxony. On the 
farm itself great changes were made; several fields were 
sold, the woodlot knocked down to the count at an exorbi- 
tant figure, and a big steam plant for the making of bricks 
and tiles was built.] 

vni 

Now great changes took place on the farm. Masons and 
carpenters appeared; the floor of the living room was 
taken up, the old dull window-panes were discarded to make 
way for new large ones of plate glass. Then the plumbers 
arrived. The old fashioned built-in oven, which had heated 
two rooms, and on which the late Mrs. Biittner used to cook 
the meals for the family and the hot mash for the cattle, 
was taken down, and in its place a modem porcelain stove 
was built, as they have them in city houses. The kitchen 
was moved into another room. Then the painters and deco- 
rators put in their appearance and tore down all the wain- 
scoting. They plastered the walls and painted them and 
even papered the room designed for the new young 
mistress. 

The new owner often ran out from the city urging the 
workmen to hurry, for he wished to move in soon. 

Biittner was driven from one corner to another. He was 
like an old animal which one suffers to live on, from charity. 

The workmen were all over the house, and finally the old 
man moved with his few belongings to a large closet in the 
attic. 

In the fields matters were the same. Innovations 
everywhere ! 

The brickyard grew apace. A new layer of clay had been 
discovered which promised to be even better than the first. 



422 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

It was being dug, for Mr. Berger, tlie new owner, had had 
a little railway built from there to the brick ovens. 

The whole farm was cut in pieces. The large fields, once 
the pride and joy of Biittner, were all measured off into 
narrow strips, on which poor men cultivated four or even 
five different kinds of crops. 

The woods also had been changed. The count's forester 
had cut down all the trees in the autumn and prepared the 
ground for reforestation. The snow had hardly melted 
when the planting bad begun. 

The old man had a. hatred of all the innovations he saw 
about him. There was something obtrusive and imperti- 
nent in the younger people *s way of doing things. 

Forty years he had carried on his farm just as his fathers 
had done before him, aiid suddenly, almost over night, 
everything was changed and turned topsy-turvy. What 
he had done was destroyed as if it had been useless. 

His life's work was deemed good for nothing. The traces 
of his activity were being erased. What gives a man his 
incentive and stimulus and is the real cause of his striving 
and working, the desire for iiumortality and the wish to 
live forever in his works here below, and to erect a monu- 
ment to his own worth, by which Ms children and children's 
children will remember him and which will keep the dark 
night of forgetfulness from swallowing up himself and his 
efforts, all this had found its expression, in so far as 
Biittner was concerned, in his farm, house, barn, fields, 
meadows and woods ; and all this had been destroyed. In 
a few brief months strangers had con*pletely altered what 
he and his ancestors had built up in love and piety in the 
course of time and through many generations. 

Time had moved on and had left him behind. 

He was being placed in a corner like an old and useless 
tool. He was a tree trunk dug up by the roots, which lay 
helpless on the very ground which it used to refresh with 
its shade in the good old days of its flourishing strength. 
The manifold relations which had tied Biittner, like every- 



^\ a*%* 









f *,' 



t 



I 









r . ■ • 



■ *' 









FARMER BiJTTNER 423 

one else, to his fellow-men, the innumerable little roots 
with which we draw strength and give strength every 
moment of our lives had been cut. He had grown useless 
to himself and to others. He might leave the world, and 
there would be no empty place anywhere. 

Aimlessly he walked to and fro, through the village street, 
over the fields, in the woods. When had this ever hap- 
pened before ! Every walk had had an aim. Barring holi- 
days, no one had ever seen him inactive. But what should 
he do now? for whom should he bestir himself? 

People spoke to him, a few from pity, most from curi- 
osity, for his actions puzzled them. But since he rarely 
replied, they ceased speaking to him. The children, it is 
true, laughed at his unkempt appearance and followed him, 
and even the older ones made fun of him behind his back. 
But to his face no one dared mock him, for even misery 
had not entirely deprived the old man of his venerable 
appearance. 

One day the minister stopped him on the street and 
accompanied him a little way. He gently scolded him for 
no longer coming to church or partaking of the Lord's 
Supper. The farmer listlessly shrugged his shoulders but 
did not reply. 

Another time Biittner met the manager of the large 
estate. Captain Schroff stopped his horse and greeting the 
old man said how sorry he was that things had happened 
as they had. Now when he could no longer buy the farm, 
the count had changed his mind and regretted having let 
the Jew take a foothold here. The count abhorred his new 
neighbor. 

Probably the captain saw that such words were too late 
to mend matters. He, therefore, pressed Biittner 's hand 
and left him to his own lonesomeness. 

What did the people want of him? The old man despised 
them from the bottom of his heart. It was useless to talk 
to him and a waste to pity him ! Every word of sympathy 
was to him a humiliation. He only wished to be left alone ; 
this was all he asked of the people. 



424 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

[The old man did not even unbend to Gustav, and re- 
fused to move with him to the city where Gustav had 
secured an excellent position. All entreaties were in vain.] 

Pauline, however, did not give up all hope of prevailing 
upon the old man, for since she had married Gustav, she 
had become his favorite. Occasionally he had even unbent 
su£5ciently toward her to let her see how he was suffering. 
[The young woman, therefore, had another interview with 
her father-in-law, all alone, and talked to him with her own 
peculiar hearty simplicity, telling him that they would make 
his lot as pleasant as he could wish.] 

She tried to entice him with the food she would cook 
for him. He should have the dishes to which he was accus- 
tomed. She had learned from his wife how to make them 
and knew exactly what he liked best. 

The old man's eyes suddenly filled with tears, and with a 
tenderness unsuspected in him he replied, " No, no, Pauline. 
You had better desist. You are good. I know you and 
your husband mean well, but you had better leave me 
alone ! " . . . 

Then he fell to thinking. 

She ventured to take his hands and to caress them. Once 
more she showed him how much better he would fare if 
he stuck to his own kin than if he lived among strangers. 

" It is all the same, Pauline ! " he replied. " I am played 
out. Nothing can help me, and soon I shall be done for." 

She, on the contrary, insisted that he would live many 
more years, for he was still strong and the match of most 
young people. 

* ' No, no. I am through with life ! I am through with 
life ! — Mama also is dead. It is not pleasant to be so alone 
in the world." 

He blew his nose and wiped his eyes with his hand, and 
continued : ' ' You had better go and leave me in peace. 
You are young and do not know what we older people feel. 
Sometimes, at night — all alone — and day times too so 
lonely I One almost could wish that the sun would not shine 



FAEMER BUTTNER 425 

again. Everything is distasteful. No, no, nobody can under- 
stand such feelings unless he has had my experiences. — 
Leave me alone. I'll find a little place for myself, if not in 
this world, maybe elsewhere." 

Pauline burst out crying at these words, and he con- 
tinued : * * But it is so. I believe I shall not have to suffer 
much longer. And before you go, Pauline, I wish to give 
you a few things — to remember me by." 

He then walked off to his closet and soon returned with 
an armful of clothes. There was a sweater which had 
belonged to his wife and a silk apron he had given her when 
they were engaged, some of her linen and a few more 
things, all of which he gave to Pauline. 

Gustav too should have some presents, and the old man 
fetched his big furcoat, which he had worn through thirty 
winters and more. 

Pauline refused to take the furcoat for Gustav, because 
the old man would need something warm next winter and 
should keep his coat. 

" I shan't see another winter," he replied. 

Finally when he had almost become angry at her refusal, 
she took the coat, but she intended to leave it with her own 
mother who should keep it for the present and return it to 
him early next winter. 

On a Sunday morning early, Gustav and Pauline said 
goodby to Halbenau. Their departure had brought out 
many friends. Mrs. Katschner was weeping copiously. 
Her daughter made her promise by everything that was 
sacred to her that she would take care of old Traugott 
Biittner. 

The widow had not yet given up all hope of enjoying once 
more the blessings of married life, and in the secret re- 
cesses of her heart there reigned only one thought : Trau- 
gott Biittner. 

The old man himself had not come to bid his children 
goodby. The people said they had seen him on the road 
that led to the village church. 



426 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

IX 

Old maa Biittner had gone to the village barber on 
Saturday evening to have his beard shaved off. Sunday 
morning early he took his Sunday clothes from the press, 
his long frock coat which had been made for his wedding 
day, his waistcoat with the long buttons of mother of pearl, 
his silk hat that had served him through thirty years and 
had grown more and more ruffed-up in spite of all coaxing 
and smoothing. 

Traugott Biittner went to partake of the Lord's Supper. 
He walked down the village street, dressed in his best 
clothes, with his hymnal in his hand, looking neither to 
right nor to left. Other communicants who passed him 
looked at him curiously. 

Was this really Traugott Biittner, or was it his ghost? 
The pale cheeks, no longer hidden behind a beard, revealed 
what they had not done before, how exceedingly hollow and 
emaciated they were. 

He replied to none of the greetings which were offered to 
him from all sides, and walked slowly but firmly, staring 
straight ahead. 

People gathered. " Look," they said, " Traugott Biitt- 
ner is going to confession." — He had become a stranger 
among the churchgoers. 

During the service which followed upon the communion, 
Biittner sat in his accustomed place. Many eyes were 
focussed on him. It was as if a church member had ap- 
peared again among his fellows after a long illness. Even 
the preacher seemed to feel that a special guest was in 
his congregation today, and more than once directed his 
words to where the old man was sitting. 

Biittner listened attentively to every word of the ser- 
mon. When it was over he put his coin in the collection 
box as he had always done when he had been to holy 
communion. 

People gathered about him as he left the church and 
wished to speak to him. "Well, Traugott," they said, 
" where did you keep yourself all these weeks? " 



FARMER BUTTNER 427 

But he seemed to have no time for his questioners, and 
shaking his head gazed at them with a singularly serious 
expression. Then he turned and walked away. Many a 
one who hardly noticed it at the time was bound to re- 
member it well later on. " Just as if he wished to pierce 
you through and through, and yet as if he was looking at 
something entirely different," one of the eye witnesses used 
to describe his looks in later days. Then he had suddenly 
disappeared from the crowd of the churchgoers and no 
one knew how this had happened. 

Traugott Biittner returned to the farm which had been 
his. The house happened to be empty, for the working- 
men were not busy there, it being a holiday. 

He went to his little room, took off his Sunday garments 
and dressed in his working clothes. Then he carefully 
folded his good clothes, put them on a chair, and on top 
he placed his hymnal. 

After that he went to the barn and gave the cows their 
feed, large enough to last through two meals. Then he 
gave the pigs their husks and poured a quantity of milk 
into their troughs preparing for them a regular feast. 
When he had looked about once more, as if to see that 
everything was all right he closed the door behind him and 
left the courtyard in the direction of the woods. 

After a while he stopped. Had he forgotten anything? 
No. He only wished to see once more the roof under which 
he had lived all his life. There the friendly gable appeared 
over the thatched roof of the bam. 

The old man shielded his eyes with his hand against the 
blinding rays of the spring sun. Thus he stood for some 
time looking at everything carefully. He would not see it 
again ! — 

There on the ridge of the bam the straw had blown loose. 
It stood up like ruffled hair every which way. To think that 
he had not noticed it before! "Well the new owner would 
attend to it ! 

Suddenly he shivered. 



428 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Why was he standing here ? What was he about to da? — 
Oh yes, indeed ! Well then let him hurry 1 The quicker the 
better! Why stand here and gape? That did no good. 
But the thatched roof. ... He had not known that it 
had blown so hard the other day. Recently he had not been 
here much because the brick-yard annoyed him. Oh, this 
brick-yard I The whole farm was disgraced. There he 
could see the big chimney now; he would rather not look 
in that direction. 

He made a big detour about the brick-yard and came back 
to the main farm-road well in the rear of that hated yard. 

How many thousand and thousands of times had he not 
walked here! At all seasons, empty-handed or with a 
heavy burden, alohe or with his wife and children, with or 
without his horses ! This road led from the Biittner farm 
through the Biittner fields into the Biittner woods. One 
could walk in a straight line for half an hour and never 
leave the Biittner ground. 

Here he was surrounded by the witnesses to his life and 
his labors. Yonder uncouth boulder reminded him of days 
of hard work untU he had removed it from his field. This 
was the comer where in early childhood he had been 
miraculously saved from death. The horses had shied and 
run away dragging him when his father, coming from the 
woods, had hurled himself at their heads and had stopped 
them and rescued him. This clump of wild roses he had 
spared when he had cleaned out the bushes all about, be- 
cause his wife knew how to make a tasty kind of jam from 
their fruit. Every square foot of land had its own special 
meaning for him here, every blade of grass had a story to 
tell. 

At last he left the main road and turned into a path be- 
tween two fields, where he stumbled over a newly placed 
demarkation stone. This was the new partition! Every- 
thing had been turned topsy-turvy; his boundaries, his 
fields, his rotation of crops ! 

Here was a small field with a young green stand. It could 



FARMER BUTTNER 429 

not be oats. What the devil was it ? The fanner stooped 
and carefully looked at a little blade. It was barley! Was 
the fellow crazy, to sow barley here in this wet comer. He 
would find out in the fall what kind of harvest he could 
gather here. Didn't he know his fields? This here was an 
impervious clay soil, always wet. And here such a fool 
sowed barley 1 — The old man snorted with wrath. 

But he had something else to do. Yes, he had! Again 
a shiver ran down his back. For heaven's sake, he thought, 
he must not let fear master him. If properly done, the 
whole thing would be over in a jiffy. He felt in his pocket 
and made sure that he had the thing he needed with him. 

What would people say when they had found him? — 
What would his tormenters say? — Ernest Kaschel the 
dog! There wa.s his field. His corn seemed to be thriving. 
Last year when he ploughed under the whole stand, hadn't 
that been a great joke? — ^A faint smUe flitted across the 
sullen face of the old man. 

But he had to stop for he had walked too fast. " Quiet," 
he said to himself, " quiet." He would arrive early 
enough. He cast a glance toward the village, which could 
be seen from here in its whole extent, way down to the 
church. The bells had started to ring. The second ser- 
vice was beginning there. Involuntarily Buttner took off 
his cap and folding his hand said a Paternoster. Then he 
heaved a deep sigh and proceeded on his way. 

Would they give him a Christian funeral? They would 
have to acknowledge that he had died a Christian and not 
a heathen, for had not the pastor and the whole congre- 
gation seen him in church and at the altar? This would 
have to count. 

Possibly the thing he was to do was not right in the eyes 
of mankind and a sin before God. But what else could he 
do? He had pondered over it a thousand times. Untold 
sleepless nights had passed since that one when the idea 
had first occurred to him. It was while the dead body of 
his wife lay in its coffin the night before her funeral. He 



430 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

himself had washed and dressed her. She had lain there in 
her shroud full of peace. Then as he had studied the 
placid face of his life's companion, the thought had first 
struck him how much better off the dead were than the 
living. Death was not at all terrible. It was natural aad 
good. Since then, a secret longing after rest had possessed 
him. 

At first he had often shuddered at the thought that such 
an end was against nature and custom. He recoiled from 
executing his purpose. Gradually, however, he had accus- 
tomed himself to the gruesome idea so completely that his 
pulse beat no harder when he thought of it. 

There was no other way. People had torn up everything 
which could make his life worth while. He had been 
practically squeezed out of his own, his farm, and all that 
was due him. They had snatched away the ground under 
his feet. If they could have done it they would doubtless 
have deprived him also of light and air. 

He was a beggar ; but they should not drag him into the 
poorhouse. Hq would not give them the pleasure of seeing 
farmer Biittner in the poorhouse. Now he would show 
them that he could have his own way. They had always 
been ready with counsel and admonition, but not one had 
raised a hand to help him. He despised them, all of them! 
It would be a long wished-for happiness to see their faces 
no more. And they had given him no peace, however deeply 
he had tried to hide himself ; they had followed him every- 
where in their talkative and curious fashion. To escape 
them he would have to leave the world altogether. After 
he was dead they would probably talk more wisely than ever 
and say he should not have done it, and cry shame. For 
did he not know them, coldblooded and unsympathetic while 
a man was suffering, but when he had miserably died, then 
they always came running up from everywhere to surround 
their victim and moan and weep. 

But this would not trouble him, he would no longer be 
able to hear them ! He would do what he considered right. 



FARMER BUTTNER 431 

No one should interfere with him. Everyone was justified 
in doing with himself as he pleased. People who give you 
nothing must refrain from ordering you about. 

He had almost reached his goal. There at the farthest 
edge of the field stood his tree. It was a wild cherry-tree of 
slender growth. A pile of stones gathered from the fields 
lay at its foot. Its crown shone in the full glory of snowy 
white blossoms, like a country woman's cap. Behind it was 
his back lot. 

The old man stopped. What had happened here ? Little 
mounds of earth one behind the other in endless rows ; and 
green tufts sticking from every mound — tiny pine trees! 
So they had planted trees here, where he had labored 
hard with plough and harrow through many a weary day! 
Here too his work had been in vain. What he had won 
from the wilderness through many years, the count's men 
had planted with trees in a few hours. 

This evidence of his activity too had been destroyed. 
The people had unravelled all the stitches of his active life. 
He stood staring at the green tops of the little pine trees 
and was seized with rage. 

Then he remembered just in time how foolish his anger 
was. He need no longer fret or be offended. Hereafter 
he had as little concern with the world as the people had 
had for him. 

Once again he felt the thrill of joy of the man who is 
truly alone, the pride and contempt of him who needs 
nothing because he is on the point of laying aside his last 
threadbare garment. 

He had reached his goal with quick and hurried steps. 
Here the cherry tree stood with its dark and shiny, almost 
polished trunk, every branch, even the smallest, covered 
with blossoms. The first bees were humming in its leaves. 
Traugott Biittner gave no thought to the humming or to 
the sweet smell, but measured the tree with careful eyes. 
The lowest branch would be strong enough. By stepping 
on the piles of stone he could reach it. A noose — then a 
jump — and then — 



432 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Again he shivered. His throat felt contracted, as if he 
were being throttled, his abdominal muscles were convulsed, 
and his legs grew so weak he could hardly stand. 

Overcome by weakness he had to lean against the tree, 
for before his eyes things were dancing. His jaw dropped 
and he stared straight ahead with unseeing gaze. The thing 
he was about to do was too horrible! To kill himself! 
Awful ! If anyone had prophesied this in his youth ! 

He repeated the Lord's prayer and felt relieved. Then 
he straightened up. His fear had passed. 

He wanted to die and had well considered it thousands of 
times. This was not his first visit to this tree with a rope 
in his pocket. Formerly the thought of his children had 
kept him from executing his purpose. They should not see 
him hanging thus. 

But now they were gone and he cared little what the 
others, strangers all, would say. 

Today he would finish everything, for was he not well 
prepared to die? He had been to confession and had taken 
the holy communion. God would have to forgive his sin. 

At last he stood on the piles of stones. The rope was 
firmly attached to the branch. All he had to do was to 
place his head in the noose — 

Once more he stopped. His eyes took in the fields and 
meadows at his feet. They were his, he would die on his 
own ground. Then his eyes looked for the house where 
he was born. There it lay, beckoning to him across the 
blooming apple trees. 

Almost without knowing it he slid the loop over his head. 
If he took one jump now the deed would be done. 

Once more the Lord's prayer! 

Already the rope choked his neck. He felt the stones 
roll from under his feet. Involuntarily his feet were seek- 
ing for a support. In vain ! He had lost his ground. His 
body grew long. 

What was this thing about his neck? A necklace of iron? 
— His body was torn to pieces ! Did he really hang from a 



FARMEE BUTTNER 433 

tree? for he could still see everything distinctly: there 
those two men, not ten steps away! — 

" Help me, why don't you help me? Can't you cut me 
down? Don't you see what I have done? " 

No response. The two men do not stir. The wind i& 
having his sport with their hair. Their eyes are big and 
silent. One is his father, whom he at last recognizes dis- 
tinctly, his father with his long light hair and without a 
beard. The little bent man at his side is his grandfather; 
a very old man with a crooked nose and inflamed eyelids. 
There they stand watching him silently and solemnly. 

He wishes to talk to them. If only there were no collar 
around his neck. — Help ! oh help me ! 

His father approaches. Father! — That's right. — Now 
he feels better. — ^Ah, what huge black birds. . . . 

The wind is rocking the body to and fro ; and the bees go 
on about their business. The head with the long gray hair 
has sunk down to the breast. The eyes are wide open 
gazing at the soil, the soil to which the man had dedicated 
Ms life, to which hie had given himself, body and soul. 
Vol. XVII — 28 




LUDWIG FULDA* 

By EuDOLF ToMBO, Jr., Ph.D. 

Late AsBooiate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbia Univeiaity 

|HE exceedingly cordial welcome extended to 
Dr. Ludwig Fulda, poet, dramatist, essayist 
and translator, on the occasion of Ms visits 
to the United States as the guest of the 
Germanistic Society of America, in 1906 and 
1913, furnishes eloquent testimony of the great popularity 
he enjoys in this country. The influence of German culture 
upon the intellectual life of America has been a profound 
and beneficial one, and there are few men in the German 
literary world of today who are better fitted to disseminate 
the message of modem German thought and literary striv- 
ing than Fulda, whose clever American Impressions stamp 
him as a clear-eyed and sympathetic observer of foreign 
manners and customs, inclined, however, in true optimistic 
fashion, to look chiefly on the bright side of things. 

Perhaps no other nation possesses the power of Anem- 
pfindung to such a marked extent as the Germans do, with 
the result that many a foreign author has become a German 
classic — Shakespeare is played much more frequently in 
Germany (1156 performances in 1912) than in England or 
America. Luther possessed this gift in eminent degree, 
as did Herder and Voss and August Wilhelm Schlegel; of 
living German writers few, if any, possess it to a greater 
extent than Fulda, who has furnished models of the trans- 
lator's art in his German versions of the masterpieces of 
Moliere and Eostand — it was for these classical transla- 
tions that he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor 



* This sketch is probably the last piece of writing done by the late lamented l^ofessor Tombo. 
If he had lived, he would perhaps have given a somewhat fuller estimate of Fulda's literary im- 
portance.-E». ^^^^^ 



LUDWIG FULDA 435 

by the French; government in 1907, — of Beaumarchais' 
Figaro and of Cavalotti's II Cantico del Cantici, and who 
is responsible for a large part of the German translation 
of Ibsen's posthumons works, as well as for a modem Ger- 
man rendering of the Middle High German Meier Helm- 
brecht, and finally for a translation of Shakespeare's Son- 
nets, which appeared in the fall of 1913. 

Fulda was bom in Frankfort-on-the-Main on July 15, 
1862, and after graduating from the Gymnasium of his 
native city and spending a brief period at uncongenial 
employment in the office of his father, a wealthy merchant, 
be took up the study of Germanic philology and philosophy, 
attending the universities of Heidelberg, Berlin, and Leip- 
zig. In 1883 he received the degree of doctor of philosophy 
from the first named institution, summa cum laude. At the 
age of twenty-two he turned his steps to Munich, where he 
fell under the spell of Paul Heyse and the Munich School, 
and this influence may be held responsible for much of our 
poet's formalism. Fulda has given expression to his in- 
debtedness to Heyse in the following verses : 

" I chose thee for my leader to the heights of art, 
Albeit 't has now wellnigh an idle-tale become, 
Courage to learn, courage to show a grateful heart." 

The ferment that was stirring literary Berlin in the late 
eighties soon drew him, by way of Frankfort (1887-88), to 
the national capital, with which he has been associated dur- 
ing the past twenty-five years, and where, as an active 
member and president of the Berlin branch of the Goethe- 
bund, he has frequently raised his voice in defense of 
intellectual and artistic freedom. His summer home is at 
Karersee near Bozen in the Tyrol. 

Fulda is a prolific writer, who, since the appearance of 
Ms maiden play, The Sincere, thirty years ago (1883), has 
scarcely allowed a year to pass without publishing a dra- 
matic work, a collection of poems, or a translation. The 
year that marked the publication of his first dramatic effort 



436 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

also witnessed the appearance of his doctor's dissertation, 
The Opponents of the Second Silesian School. The thesis 
appeared in the nature of an introduction to the writings of 
the individuals concerned (volumes XXXVIII and XXXIX 
of Kiirschner's Deutsche National-Litteratur), the first 
dealing with the poet Johann Christian Giinther (1695- 
1723), the second with the seventeenth century dramatist 
Christian Weise and several other members of the school. 
As for Fulda's dramatic activities, he has written a num- 
ber of successful stage plays, including his greatest the- 
atrical successes. The Talisman (1893), Friends of Youth 
(1898), and The Twin Sister (1901), the first and last men- 
tioned of which have also been popular with the reading 
public. The Talisman having passed into nineteen and The 
Twin Sister into six editions. It is to the drama that 
Fulda has devoted most attention, his contributions in that 
field including no less than twenty-eight plays, of which 
eight contain only one act. His dramas are not always pro- 
found, yet they harbor many a-clever idea, many a happy 
situation, many a graceful line. Fulda's polished verses 
flow on easily and melodiously and artistically, and he dis- 
plays thorough command of dramatic form and technique, 
exhibiting special mastery in the handling of dialogue. 
While at one stage of his career he showed a leaning toward 
realistic production, as for example iu the comedy The 
Wild Hunt (1888), a satire on modern climbers, and the 
drama Paradise Lost (1890), his chief activity has been 
directed along idealistic lines (classical and neo-romantio). 
Fulda's realistic work calls up the social satires of Suder- 
mann rather than the crass naturalism of Hauptmann, and 
his association with the preachers of revolutionary doc- 
trines was of short duration. He is not by nature inclined to 
upset established conventions, and his protagonists rarely 
preach iconoclastic doctrines, although Fulda does not hesi- 
tate to give firm expression to a personal conviction. 
Flashes of wit abound in his plays, and his comedies con- 



LUDWIG FULDA 437 

tain much bright dialogue and many humorous situations, 
while at the same time they stamp him as an accurate 
observer of modem life with all its foibles and all its follies. 
As a result, the element of satire on the modem social 
structure is not lacking in his work, as for example in the 
comedy Comrades (1895), and the drama Masquerading 
(1905). The satire is not particularly bitter, however, 
while it sometimes borders on caricature. 

In his sjrmbolic and fairy-tale dramas Fulda exhibits 
much poetic fancy and deep sentiment. By far the most 
popular of these is The Talisman, the plot of which is 
founded on Andersen's tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. 
In this f.airy-tale play the influence of Grillparzer and 
of Kaimund is unmistakable, the latter being found, for 
example, in the character of Habakuk, who suggests Eai- 
mund's The Peasant Millionaire. It was for this play that 
Fulda was voted the Schiller Prize, which was, however, 
not awarded, to him owing to objections on the part of the 
Emperor, the play having been interpreted as a satire on 
the theory of the divine right of kings with a reference to 
the unpopular dismissal of the Iron Chancellor. An opera 
based on The Talisman and dealing primarily with the love 
episode (Maddalena and the King) has been composed by 
Mrs. Adela Maddison (1910). From the time that Fulda 
caused flowers to appear as dramatis personce in a youthful 
puppet play, the fairy-tale, with its symbolical and alle- 
gorical elements, has always exercised a peculiar fascina- 
tion over him. His other fairy-tale plays are The Caliph's 
Son (1897), and Land of Cockayne (1900). 

Of the realistic plays. Paradise Lost shows the influence 
of Sudermann's Honor (1889), dealing with the problem 
of the conflict between capital and labor which was at that 
time such a popular theme for narrative and dramatic treat- 
ment. . Note, for example, Kretzer's novel Master Timpe 
(1888), Hauptmann's drama The Weavers (1892), and Wil- 
denbruch's play Master Falser (1893). Another realistic 
satire. The Woman Slave (1892), deals, as the title implies. 



438 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

with the inferior position of woman in the German social 
system. 

Agnes Sorma has frequently appeared with success in 
the comedy The Twin Sister, of which an English version 
by Louis N. Parker has been presented in America. An 
adaptation of the amusing Friends of Youth has also been 
performed here. One of the most popular of the one- 
act plays is Tete-d-Tete. Fulda occasionally returns to 
the episodes and characters of his earlier plays, as for 
example in Master and Servant (1910), the theme of which 
is based on an idea of the sixteenth century Italian novelist 
Bandello and which suggests the earlier Talisman, as it 
does the influence of Hebbel. This play is said to have been 
submitted to the Deutsches Theater of Berlin anonymously 
and it proved a consideralble stage success. Not so suc- 
cessful was a tragedy Herostratus (1898), which deals with 
a page of Greek history and in which the famous Mat- 
kowsky appeared in the title role. In this ambitious work 
with its deeply tragic conflict the author's artistic sense 
and his mastery of form are strongly reflected. The first 
play of our poet was also an historical drama, which 
described the tragedy of the unfortunate Silesian poet 
Johann Christian Giinther; this effort goes back to Fulda 's 
Heidelberg student days, but has never been performed. 
His latest dramatic production is a comedy entitled The 
Pirate (1911). 

Fulda 's poems have appeared in several collections, 
as follows: Satura — Pasquils and Humorous Sketches 
(1884), in which Heyse's influence is plainly visible; 
Epigrams (1888), verses thoroughly characteristic of his 
lightness of touch and his bright humor; Poems (1890), and 
Neiv Poems (1900), of which a second largely augmented 
edition has appeared under the title. Melodies — a Book 
of Poems (1910). In addition to the American Impressions 
(1906), he has written a series of essays entitled From the 
Workshop — Studies and Suggestions (1904), which con- 
tains among others an admirable essay on The Art of the 




LUDWIG FULDA 



LUDWIG FULDA 439 

Translator. In the same year appeared a lecture on Schil- 
ler cmd the New Generation. 

Fulda 's talents lie rather along dramatic than along nar- 
rative lines, and thus, aside from a volume on Aladdin and 
the Magic Lamp, published, as an UUstein Jugendbuch, his 
only contribution to prose fiction consists of two short 
stories which appeared in 1894 under the title of Fragments 
of Life {Edwin Diirer and The Wedding-Trip to Rome). 
He has also written a prologue for the dedication of the 
new Schauspielhaus at Frankfort (1902). The beginnings 
of Fulda 's literary activity are humorously portrayed by 
him in Franzos' The Story of the Maiden Effort (pp. 285- 
296). 



LUDWIG FULDA 



tete-a-t£te 



DRAMATIS PERSONS 

Feux Volkaet, M.D. Battmann, a servamt 

Hkbmine, his wife Iotoe, a housemmA 

Babon Httbebt von Bbbkow 

[440] 



TfiTE-A-TETE 

TEANSLATED BY E. L. TOWNSEND, A.M, 
Assistant Professor of German, Trinity College, Durham, N. C. 
Dining-room at De. Volkakt's. Side-doors on the right and on the left. 
A window in the foreground to the right. In the centre of the stage is 
a long table, richly set, with some thirty or forty covers. In the fore- 
ground on the right is a small sofa, and on the left are several easy- 
chairs. In the background are portiires which have been drawn back, 
showing the drawing-room. There are chandeliers in both rooms. From 
right to left in the order named are: Hebmine (who has made an elab- 
orate toilet), Lottie, Baumann (who is engaged in lighting the chande- 
lier in the drawing-room). Later Felix. 

Hebmine (to Lottie, who is holding a hand-mirror before 
her, pointing to a rose in her hair). Put this rose 
higher, — higher than that. I wonder what the hair- 
dresser was thinking of! That's right! But do be 
careful; you're crumpling my lace! / 

Lottie. Madam looks charming today, as usual. 

{Puts down the hand-mirror.'] 

Hekmine. Do you think so? I don't feel comfortable at 
all. It's easy to speak of one's first ball; but the 
worrying, the trouble, the disorder, the thousand things 
one has to bear in mind, the thousand things one is 
afraid have been forgotten after all. And old Bau- 
mann is utterly unreliable now that he has passed sixty. 
[Calling.'] Baumann ! 

Baumann {hurrying toward her, lighter in hand). Yes, 
Madam ! 

Hebmine. Good heavens, the thing 's dripping ! Blow it out ! 

Baumann (blows out the light). Yes, Madam! I've at- 
tended to everything. 

Hebmine (glancing at the table). Have you put on the 
table-cards ? 

Baumann, To be sure I have ! But at the left comer — 

Hebmine (impatiently). Well! 

[441] 



442 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Baumann. There are three gentlemen sitting together at 

the left corner. 
Hebmine. There you are ! Blundering again ! Straighten 

it out! 
Baumann {still standing before her). Well, if your poor 

mother had heard you say that — the Baroness always 

used to say — 
Hebmine. I know what my mother used to say. Now, go 

to your work ! [Baumann goes to the table.] 

Felix (entering from the left, in morning dress). I've 

found you at last, Hermine! Do tell me where 's my 

writing-desk? 
Hebmine. In the attic. 
Felix. A nice place for it ! I've got to look up a reference 

on rheumatism. Now I'm likely to get a touch of it 

myself. [Exit quickly, to the right.] 

Baumann {coming forward again). The little tables are 

all set, too. Shan't I put any cards there? 
Hebmine. What little tables? 
Baumann. In the blue room. 

Hebmine. Heavens ! Why, Baumanii, those are the card- 
tables. You must take the covers off of them at once. 
Baumann. You see, when I used to look after you, Madam, 

and you were a little girl, I really never thought that 

when you gave your first ball, I should have the good 

fortune to — 
Hebmine. It's just dreadful! Do attend to it, Lottie, will 

you? 
Felix {entering from the right). All hope abandon ye who 

enter there ! My writing-desk is there but not my books. 

Who's been storing them away? 
Lottie. They are in the bathroom, in the large linen- 
closet. 
Felix. In the bathroom? How wonderful is the logic of 

events! [Exit to the left.] 

Hebmine. Lottie! Look and see whether the carpet is 

stretched across the sidewalk.' [Exit Lottie to the 



TETE-A-TfiTE 443 

right] And Baumann, you ask the chef whether the 

missing lobster has come at last ; if not, then telephone 1 
Battmann. To the lobster? 
Heemine. To the caterer ! Number 746. 
Baumann, I'll attend to it all. Only to think that that is 

now twenty years ago and that I still have the honor 

and the pleasure — 

[Goes to the drawing-room and busies himself with 
something.] 
Hbemine (aside). He's incorrigible. 
Felix (enters from the left, smoking a cigar). Why, the 

key has been taken out of the lock. 
Hebmine. It's in your writing-desk, no doubt. 
Felix. This running up and down stairs is very pleasant I 

Another trip to the attic, then? No, I give up now. 

[Sits down in an easy-chair.] 
Hebmine, Felix, are you smoking, here in the dining-room ? 
Felix. Well, there 's nobody here yet. 
Hebmine. The smell of stale tobacco at our first ball ! It 

would mean our social destruction. 
Felix. Then I'll stop. [Puts down the cigar.] 

Hebmine (calling). Baumann! 
Baumann (from the drawing-room). Yes, Madam! 
Hebmine. Take that nasty stub away ! 
Baumann. I'll do it at once. [Takes the cigar and smokes 

behind her bach.] That's the genuine article! 

[Exit to the right.] 
Hebmine. Felix, it's high time you dressed for dinner! 
Felix. I'll try to, if I can find my dress coat. Under the 

conditions which prevail, I suppose it's in the cellar. 
Hebmine. You're certainly in a good humor! 
Felix. The humor of despair, that's all! Besides we 

haven't seen anything of each other today, so I 

thought — 
Hebmine, We'll see enough of each other this evening, 
Felix, Yes, in the crowd, without a chance to speak as we 

pass by. 



444 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hermine. Have you no sense whatever of the duties of a 
host? 

Felix. Certainly. But of other duties, too. That's just 
why I'd like to have a few minutes' chat with you. 

Heemine. a chat, now ! There 's no time. Tomorrow. 

Felix. Why, you 're going to drive to the races tomorrow. 

Hekmine. The day after tomorrow, then — 

Felix. Then you have in the morning the benefit perform- 
ance for the victims of the flood and in the evening the 
tableaus in aid of the sufferers from the fire — I say, 
what 's the title of the tableau in which you are taking 
part? 

Heemine. The Family Circle! 

Felix. Oh, indeed! The Family Circle. A promising 
title. You see, my dear girl, that for the present we 
shall have as little time for chatting as we had in the 
past. We have been married exactly four months ; we 
have time to talk to strangers, never to talk to each 
other. 

Heemine. Now, Felix, there are a hundred things I've still 
got to attend to. Do go and dress for dinner. If any- 
body came — 

Felix {looking at his watch). Nobody ever comes in the 
first half -hour. And you know very well how quickly 
I can slip on my dress suit. 

Heeminb. Well then, for goodness' sake say what you 
have to say, and be quick about it. I suppose I won't 
get rid of you till it's done. 

Felix, Are things to go on like this forever, Hermine? 

Heemine. What do you mean? 

Felix. Why, that we only have a bowing acquaintance 
with each other, that the only privileges attached to 
my position as your husband are the right to escort 
you to a ball and escort you home again, the right to 
sit behind you in our box at the theatre, carry your 
fieldglass when you go to the races, hold your bouquet 
or your fan while you are dancing, and look on indif- 



TETE-A-TfiTE 4^ 

ferent or even well-pleased while other men pay court 
to you. I am like a supernumerary in a play, who 
would be only a nuisance if he tried to take part in the 
action, and people think me a model marital figurehead. 
For since you maintain that it is very unseemly for me 
ever to sit beside you at supper or dance with you at 
a ball — 

Hebmine. Certainly it's unseemly. Married people get 
enough of each other's society at home; while in 
society ^ — 

Felix. At home? — Why, when are we at home, my dear 
girl? At home is as far as we are concerned merely a 
geographical term, it is only the base which we use 
as a starting point for our social campaigns. 

Hebmine. How you do exaggerate ! Haven't we the whole 
morning to ourselves? 

Felix. The morning? That's when you sleep. 

Hbemine. But when I'm up — 

Felix. Then I've my consultation hour. 

Hebmine. And as soon as that's over — 

Felix. By that time you've driven to pay calls or are 
receiving, — the very best people, I admit. All are 
meritorious people, even if their merit consists only 
in their high birth, the ribbons on exhibition in their 
button holes or their ability to talk on every subject, 
especially on subjects they don't understand. We are 
sure either to be invited out for lunch or to have guests 
ourselves. 

Heemine. Well now, wasn't that just a charming luncheon 
we had at the Chinese Embassy lately? 

Felix. Extremely interesting. The Great Wall of China 
seemed to surround even the mind of the lady who sat 
next to me. When you're in Eome, do as the Eomans 
do. I kept making spasmodic efforts to entertain her, 
but her only answer was invariably : How funny ! At 
last in desperation I delivered to her a lecture on the 
cure of hydrophobia. How funny! 



446 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Hbkmine. It was your own fault. Now I had a splendid 
time. 

Felix. With von Walheim? 

Heemine. a very pleasant companion. 

Felix. What did you talk about? 

Hebmine {trying to remember). Well, about — about — 

Felix. Yes, that's what one always talks about with men 
like him. 

Hekmine. Why, you haven't the slightest idea what we 
were talking about. 

Felix. Nor have you either, much less von Walheim. 

Hermine. But yet we've got the afternoon to ourselves. 

Felix. But then you're driving, or shopping, or at five 
o'clock tea. And in the evening — 

Heemine. You're exaggerating. 

Felix. In the evening we usually don't come home till 
morning. 

Baumann {entering from the right). The lobster has come. 

Heemine. All right ! 

Baumann. A beautiful creature; it's stiU alive. 

Felix. It's all right, Baumann! 

Baumann. Shall I kill it? 

Heemine. Just give it to the chef. 

Baumann. Oh, if her ladyship, your mother, had lived to 
see that! [Exit to the right.] 

Felix {after a brief interval). It is extraordinary that 
your family physician should have been out of town 
on the very day when your mother got a sick headache. 
I can still remember perfectly well how I was called 
to the Baroness in his stead. 

Heemine {gravely). I remember too. 

Felix. The case made a pretty deep impression on' me, 
for it was the third since I had begun to practice, and 
the first two scarcely count: a servant-girl who had 
sprained her wrist and a young man who asked in 
strict confidence for a remedy to keep his hair from 
falling out. But a Baroness with a headache was the 



TfiTE-A-TETE 447 

decisive turning point, decisive for another reason, too. 
It was the beginning of our acquaintance. 

Hebminb. Felix, I really believe you're growing senti- 
mental. 

Felix. And why shouldn't I? It's only by way of a 
change. Yes, the beginning of our acquaintance. Your 
mother was then' as sound as a bell. But I left the 
house a sick man. Even Cupid's darts have been 
proved by modern science to be a species of microbe. 
I was smitten in good earnest. And when I had paid 
a few more visits, to prescribe the purest Raspberry 
juice for your mother, a tablespoonful every hour, by 
that time I was no longer smitten, I was in love. 

Hebminb. Won't you just put on your dress clothes before 
you repeat your declaration of love? 

Felix. I'll be done in a minute. That you were a true 
society maiden, brought up in a whirl of pleasures, who 
looked upon the art of sewing on buttons as black 
magic and upon the cookbook as a book with seven 
seals, that I was well aware of. But I knew too, by 
experience, that girls brought up in the privacy of the 
home generally become pleasure-seekers when married. 
Therefore I concluded that the reverse would be true 
of you; and, as I said, I loved you, and if you don't 
object, I still love you. 

Hebminb. Well, all that may be taken for granted. 

Felix. Of course! 

Hebminb. On the other hand, you haven't said one word 
as to whether you like my new dress. 

Felix. It always takes the tailor's bill to make me realize 
the value of such works of art. You'd better ask the 
experts who are coming this evening. I find you pretty 
in any dress, even in a plain one. 

Hebminb. That just shows that you've no taste. 

Felix. At any rate my taste can't keep pace with the cur- 
rent number of your fashion paper. I am too irregular 
in my reading of that organ. In that field I can't com- 



448 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

pete with our friend Hubert. I suppose lie's coming 
this evening, isn't he? 

Heemine. We have invited him. 

Felix. Have we? 

Hbkmine. It would be an awful pity if he didn't come. 
He dances splendidly. 

Felix. It would be terrible. [Suddenly stepping up to 
her.'] Hermine, you either do not or will not under- 
stand me. Don't you see then that this life is torment- 
ing me, torturing me, driving me to despair? Don't 
you realize that my most ardent wish is to have my 
wife for myself alone, to feel at home in my home? If 
you don't realize it, so much the worse. I am neither 
a plaything nor a lay figure. I'll put an end to these 
goings on. 

Hebmine. I understood you very well, but as the moral- 
ist's mask has suddenly fallen off and revealed the 
stern tyrant of the domestic fireside, let me tell you 
that you've chosen your time very badly. I have no 
desire to act in such a scene just ten minutes before 
our guests are due. I never gave you any reason to 
doubt the sincerity of my love for you. You know that 
I accepted you in preference to the most brilliant offers. 

Felix, I suppose I'm to consider that a great favor! 

Hermine. It was not a favor: I've just told you that it 
was love. But if you ask me to mope away my youth 
in a chimney-corner, to adore you all day long like a 
sentimental old maid, to die with ennui for love's sake, 
then I'll never give in to you, never! I have the right, 
the undoubted right to enjoy my youth, and you should 
be delighted instead of vexed, if people pay homage 
to your wife, and show their appreciation of her. I 
need this homage ; it gives wings to my soul ; it lends 
a thousand charms to my existence, charms for which 
your humdrum fireside would be no compensation. 
That social life you poke fun at, enlivens me, fills me 
with rapture, intoxicates me. Aren't you men ambi- 



TfiTE-A-TfiTE 449 

tious, every one of you? All of you are, and shan't 
women be ambitious too? I am ambitious. I want to 
be tbe queen of the ball ; I want every one to envy you, 
because I am yours. When I'm old, there'll be plenty 
of time to bury myself between my four walls. But I 
am young, I am young ! I want to dance, laugh, joke, 
kick over the traces, and you have no right to stop me. 

Felix. Well, it seems to me that nothing is sadder than 
this everlasting round of pleasures, nothing more tire- 
some than this systematic search for amusement. Do 
as you please ; but from now on I shall cease to act as 
your bodyguard. 

Hebmine. I am of age, and if you think you can justify 
such behavior in the eyes of the world, I'll excuse you. 

Felix, I am answerable for what I do to my conscience 
alone, not to this so-called world which I despise. 

Hebmine. Because you never took the trouble to try to 
understand it without prejudice. 

Felix. It isn't worth while. 

Hebmine. Perhaps better worth while than your ever- 
lasting studying and sticking indoors. 

Felix. Hermine, are you finding fault with me because I 
take my professional duties seriously? 

Hebmine. It wasn't I who began the faultfinding, it was 
you. 

Felix. Under such circumstances it's a good thing that 
we should be alone as little as possible; for you — 
(bursting out) you're a coquette! 

Hebmine. And you're a prig! 

Felix (taking long strides up and down). A pleasant 
evening ! 

Heemine (vexed). The evening of our first ball. 

Felix. Well, I'll put on my dress suit now [as he goes out] 
and I'll take just as long as I can to do it, just as long 
as I can! [Exit quickly to the left.] 

Hebmine (alone). Such a scene at this hour! Oh, it's in- 
excusable! \_Looks at herself in the hand-mirror.] 

Vol. XVn — 29 



450 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

How I do look ! Heated and upset ! Am I to receive 
my guests like that? {Calling.) Baumami! 

Baumann (from the drawing-room). I've attended to 
everything, Madam ! 

Heemine. Quick, bring me a seidlitz powder ! 

Baumann. I'll get it right away! {Looking out of the 
window.) A carriage has driven up. How glad I am! 

\_The door-bell rings.] 

Hebmine. Quick. Show the guests into the drawing-room ! 

Baxjmann. I'll do it right away. {Exit to the right.'] 

Heemine {calling after him). And don't bring the seidlitz 
powder! {Aside.) What a humor I'm in! Heavens! 
I've got to smile, I've got to be amiable. Now all my 
pleasure's spoilt. 

l^Goes toward the rear of the stage; vos Beekow, for 
whom Baumann has opened the door, enters from 
the right in traveling dress.] 

VON Beekow. Fair friend, first of all I crave a full pardon 
for appearing before you at such a late hour and in 
such questionable attire. But when one has been 
obliged to live without seeing you for a whole week, 
one can have no more pressing business on returning 
than the pleasure of kissing your hand. I have just 
come from the station and as your house is on my way, 
I stopped the carriage to — But what do I see? You 
are in full toilet, and this table, these elaborate prep- 
arations — you are expecting guests? 

Heemine {very much surprised). Didn't you get our 
invitation ? 

VON Beekow. I'm thunderstruck, 'pon my word, I am! 
I have been absent for a week on business connected 
with my estate. I suppose your invitation has been at 
my house all that time, without even being opened. 

Heemine. No doubt ! But we hope — 

VON Beekow. You may expect my reappearance as soon 
as I have made myself presentable. It was my good 
angel that brought me back. May one ask who is 
coming? 



TETE-A-TfiTE 451 

Hebmine. Only our best friends. Luckily not one invi- 
tation has been declined. 

VON Berkow. How charming ! 

Hebmine. Mrs. Heuer, wife of the Councillor, with her 
four daughters. 

VON Beekow. a heavy dose of culture. Every last one 
of them a walking encyclopedia. 

Hbemine. Malicious but true. Next your friend Woron- 
zow, the painter. 

VON Beekow. Properly speaking, he doesn't paint at all. 
He only lives here to get inspiration. For twenty years 
past ! Must be wonderfully inspired by now. 

BiERMiN-E (smiling). Slander! But what fault have you to 
find with Count Walheim? 

VON Beekow. None, except that he pays court to you. 

Hbemine. Also Baron Marling and his wife. 

VON Beekow. A beautiful woman. 

Heemine. Ah, she's to your taste? She sits on your left 
at table. 

VON Beekow. And on my right? 

Heemine. Myself. 

VON Beekow. Then say no more. As always you will be 
the fairest and most tastefully dressed. 

Heemine. You '11 say that to the lady on your left also ! 

VON Beekow. How cruel of you! You do me wrong. 
Baroness von Marling is a cold beauty, a portrait. 
She talks as sparingly as if every word cost her six- 
pence — because her husband is a telegraph-director, 
no doubt. While you — but I won't bother you any 
longer. I'll fly home and be back in a jiffy. Permit 
me — 

Baumann (from the right, with a seidlits powder and a 
glass half full of water). Here is the seidlitz powder. 

Heemine (aside to Baumann). Didn't I tell you to let it 
alone? How stupid of you — 

Baumann. Well, Madam, I thought, seeing you were so 
excited — I hope it'll do you good. 

{Exit to the right.] 



452 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

VON Beekow (aside). Something's in the wind here. 

(Aloud.) Surely you're not feeling unwell? I do 

hope — 
Hebminb. There's nothing the matter, nothing at all. A 

mistake of — 
VON Berkow. No, you can't deceive me. You are excited, 

out of sorts — Do, please, drink the powder. 
Hebmine. Why, Baron! 
VON Beekow (preparing the powder). You really must 

let me perform this little labor of love. 
Heemine (laughing). Well, if you compel me — 
VON Beekow (after putting in the second powder). It's 

effervescing! Drink quickly! [Heemine drinks.] 

VON Beekow. All in one draught! That'll do you good. 

That's right! [Puts away the glass.] Do you feel 

better? 
Heemine (cheerfully). Of course! How anxious you are 

about me. 
VON Beekow. More than about my own life ! Oh, I see it 

aU. This powder has played the traitor, it has made 

everything clear to me, everything. You are not happy, 

Hermine ! 
Heemine (with a forced laugh). What a tragic tone. It 

doesn't become you at all. 
VON Beekow. No matter, if your happiness is in question. 

I have known Felix ever since our school-days ; he is a 

thoroughly good, upright fellow, a strong personality 

in short, and I am his friend. Still — 
Heemine. Not another word, Baron von Berkow! I am 

his wife and I demand — 
VON Beekow. Oh, I must speak ! My desire for your hap- 
piness outweighs my fear of your anger. He is a 

strong personality and so he is biased too, and because 

he is biased, he is unjust. He does not, he never will 

understand you, for you — 
Heemine. I forbid you — 
VON Beekow (going on eagerly). You — you have a strong 



TETE-A-TfiTE 453 

personality, too, but different from his. You are a 
gifted, high-spirited woman, meant for life in the grand 
style. You were born to rule, to command. The man 
who loved you should have lain at your feet, he should 
have deemed it a favor if you raised him up to you, 
happy mortal! Fatal error! How did this rose get 
into the vegetable garden? No, you can't deny that he 
has only offered you the well-tempered warmth of a 
study-grate where you expected the glowing, flaming 
rays of passion's sun. 

Hebmine. Go, Baron von Berkow! I must not listen to 
another word. My husband may come at any moment ! 
Say no more or I'll tell him everything. 

VON Beekow. Do so, if you don't feel that I've spoken the 
truth. But you feel it, you know it. It is no use for 
you to take refuge in a pride which cannot disarm me, 
because it is powerless against the strength of my 
conviction — 

Hbrmine. What you call pride, is only my vexation at your 
presumption for which — 

VON Berkow. For which you will have to pardon me. 

Hermine. Never ! 

VON Berkow. Listen, Hermine, I've just one thing more 
to say and then condemn me if you can. You knew that 
I loved you, long before Felix ever entered your house, 
I was resolved to sue for your hand. I was ready to 
lay myself unconditionally at your feet. Then a 
dangerous illness kept me on a sick bed for weeks. 
"When I became conscious once more you were my first 
thought; when I became convalescent the announce- 
ment of your engagement was the first thing that met 
my eyes. If I have not even yet succeeded in stifling 
my feelings and overcoming my grief, does that de- 
serve your vexation ? Won 't you forgive me even now ? 

Hermine. Perhaps ! 

VON Berkow (quickly changing his tone). And may I beg 
for the first waltz this evening? 



454 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebmine, All right, if you go now. 

Felix {entering from the left, in evening dress). Good 

evening, Hubert. 
VON Bekkow. I'm only here pro tern. I have come 

straight from the station and have only just heard 

from your wife that I'm invited. 
Baumann (entering from the right). The chef wants to 

ask you about something, Madam. It's about the 

gooseliver. 
VON Bebkow. This old Baumann's a delightful old chap! 
Hebmine. He's scarcely any use now. Excuse me, Baron 

von Berkow. We'll expect you later. 
VON Bebkow. My dear Madam ! 

[Heemine and Baumann exeunt to the right.] 
VON Bebkow (aside). Now, if I play my cards well, I'll 

win everything. (Aloud.) Felix, there was a little 

scene here a while ago, wasn't there? A sort of diplo- 
matic explanation, eh? 
Felix. How do you know anything about it? 
VON Bebkow. I gathered it from something old Baumann 

let drop. Poor friend! 
Felix. Your sympathy's rather poor taste. 
VON Bebkow. Because it's sincere. Your wife's the best 

woman in the world, beautiful, lovable, brilliant, and 

a strong personality, take my word for it. 
Felix. You know her better than I do, I must admit. 

Though we're married, we don't see much of each 

other. 
VON Bebkow. She's fond of pleasure, rather too fond, let 

us say. Why are you so weak as to let her have her 

way? Women like a little domineering? My wide 

experience — 
Felix. Will hardly serve here, I fancy. 
VON Bebkow. It will serve, I assure you. Women are 

mysteries, but whoever has got to the bottom of one 

of these mysteries understands them all. I studied 

long enough at that school. 



TfiTE-A-TfiTE 455 

Felix. And paid school fees enough, too. 

VON Bekkow. Very high fees. The method's the thing. 
Stand on your dignity for once. Be harsh, be tyran- 
nical, and if that does no good, make her life miser- 
able. First she'll cry, next she'll sulk, then she'll 
throw her arms around your neck. (Aside.) Or per- 
haps around mine. 

Felix. Perhaps you're right. But then we'd have to be 
alone together for once, and there isn't the least pros- 
pect of that just at present. 

VON Bebkow. Begin this very evening! 

Felix. At our. first ball? We'll have little chance for 
private conversation then. In such cases our whole 
dialogue consists in her whispering me to relieve her 
of a lemonade-glass or to invite some neglected 
chaperon to join me in the quadrille. I can't possibly 
play the tyrant under those conditions, 

VON Beekow. Of course not ; but follow my advice as soon 
as you can. You'll excuse me if I'm a bit late. My 
toilet will require much concentration of mind. Good- 
by for the present, my poor friend. 

Felix. Damn it all, don't bother me with your sympathy. 

VON Beekow (aside as he leaves). He has simply no idea 
how I pity him. [Exit to the right.] 

Felix (alone). Suppose I try Hubert's prescription? Or 
suppose I make up another for myself? It won't do 
now, when we may be interrupted by our guests at any 
moment. I am to play the host while my feelings are 
anything but hospitable. The best thing would be to 
plead illness and take to my bed; but my bed has been 
taken down and heaven only knows where it is now. 
Perhaps I might run away and sleep at a hotel. No, 
that would be cowardly ! I'll stay. [Hekmine a^j^'ears 
in the drawing-room.] There she is. She's really 
angry with me, I do believe. 

[Sits down on the sofa to the right.] 

Hebmine (entering, aside). Half past eight already ! They 



456 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

are all unpunctual because no one wants to be the first 
arrival. [Sits down on an easy-chair to the left, aside.] 
He's vexed with me, but I can't do anything for him. 
Hubert's right. He doesn't understand me. I am a 
rose in a vegetable garden. 

[A short pause during which they watch each other.] 

Felix, Hermine ! 

Heemine. What is it? 

Felix. Aren't we going into the drawing-room? 

Heemine. As soon as anybody comes. 

Felix. All right. [A short pause.] 

Hermine. It's tiresome, waiting like this. ' 

Felix. To be sure! 

Heemine. I'm cold. 

Felix. Then have a fire made. 

Heemine. That won't do. If I did the heat would be un- 
bearable later on. Put my ermine cape around me, 
please. 

Felix. With pleasure ! 

[Both rise; he helps her to put on her cape.] 

Heemine. Thanks ! 

[They take their previous seats. A pause, then the 
door-bell rings. They jump up.] 

Felix. Now somebody's come. 

Heemine. At last! 

Felix. Let's go and receive them. 

Heemine. It's the Marlings, I'm sure. They're punctual. 
[They go toward the drawing-room.] 

Battmann (coining toward them from the drawing-room). 
They're there, Madam! 

Heemine. Who? The Marlings? 

Battmann. No, the gooselivers; they've just come. 

Heemine (disappointed). Oh! 

Felix. To your post, Baumann! 

Battmann. Right away ! [As he is about to go off to the 
right, he glances through the window.] A carriage ! 

Heemine. Hurry! Open the carriage door! 



T^TE-A-TfiTE 457 

Baumann. It drove on! I just can't wait ! 

lExit to the right.] 

Hebminb (sitting down again). Isn't that tiresome? 

Felix. Dreadful! {Sitting down also.) Hubert won't be 
here for some time. 

Hebminb. Indeed ! 

Felix. It was very nice weather today, though rather raw. 

Hbkmine. What are you talking that way for? 

Felix. I'm trying to start a conversation. 

Hermine. a poor attempt. 

Felix. You ought to help me, 

Hermine. What could we talk about now? 

Felix. Indeed, I've no idea. 

Hebmine (rising and going to the table). I wonder if the 
cards have been put in the proper places. 

[Busies herself at the right end of the table.] 

Felix (going to the left end of the table). Where do I sit, 
anyway? 

Hermine. There, just where you're standing. 

Felix. As far as possible from you. 

Hermine. It was the only possible arrangement. 

Felix. I'm sure of it. (Looking at the cards.) On my 
right Mother Heuer, on my left Count Walheim's aunt ! 
I'm charmed with the way you've provided for me. 

Hermine. I must provide for my guests first of all. 

Felix. Of course. [Sitting down at the table and pre- 
tending he is speaking to a lady beside him.] I suppose 
you attend a good many receptions, Madam? Will you 
take white wine or red? 

Hermine. Why, what are you doing there ? 

Felix. I'm rehearsing our evening's conversation at table. 
Only by way of precaution. (Continuing rapidly.) Do 
youoftengoto the theatre, Madam? Don't you? Why, 
of course ! I often see you in the lobby; and I had that 
pleasure at the last concert. You say the pleasure was 
all yours ; no, it was all mine. You like the new tenor ? 
His high C is not merely high ; it's inspired. They say 



458 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

he belongs to a very good family. He has a brother in 
Manchester, who's a rich silk-importer; millions, they 
say. His sister is married to a contractor whom I 
met at Baden-Baden. Do you like Baden-Baden? 

Hebmine (laughing). You 're very funny. 

Felix. Don't interrupt us — Yes, Madam, away down 
there, just above the horizon, sits my wife. Just now 
I'd much rather be talking to her than to you, but Fate 
wills it otherwise. May I help you to another slice of 
calf's head? 

Hebmine. Your rehearsal wasn't bad at all. I'd never 
have thought you could be so delightfully malicious. 

Felix (rising). And you only realize it after we've been 
four months married, just a minute before the arrival 
of our guests. And even this time I'm merely the 
stop-gap, at best good enough to help you bear a few 
moments of ennui. 

Hebmine. Did you ever take pains to entertain me? 

Felix. I only took pains to make you happy. 

Hebmine. I'm happy when I have a good time. 

Felix. I'm more exacting than that; happiness to me 
means a great deal more. I could not prevail upon 
myself to trifle with you, after I had made up my mind 
to pass my life with you. 

Hebmine. Hush! Didn't you hear anything? 

Felix. No ! 

Hebmine. I thought the door-bell rang. 

Felix. You were mistaken. [A ring.] 

Hebmine. But there's a ring now. 

\_Takes off her cape and goes toward the drawing- 
room.] 

Felix (aside). What a pity? 

[Lottie enters from the right.] 

Hebmine. What is it? Who came? 

Lottie. The hairdresser. He left his curling irons here a 
while ago. 



TfiTE-A-TfiTE 459 

Hermine. Get them for him, then! (Aside.) How amioy- 

ing to have to wait so. [Lottie exits to the left.] 

[Heemine goes to the window and drums softly on 

the panes. Felix sits down at the table again and 

pours himself a glass of wine from a decanter.] 

Hermine {turning round and perceiving him). What are 
you doing, Felix? 

Felix. I'm thirsty. IDrinhs.] 

Hermine. Your conduct's inexcusable. 

Felix. A lovely state of affairs. I'm in my own house 
and would like to have a nice comfortable evening, but 
I've got to sit here in my dress clothes and be bored. 
I have cigars and mustn't smoke; I have wine and 
mustn't drink; I have a wife and am not permitted to 
have her to myself. Everything's been taken out of my 
study and it's been turned into a wardrobe. My writ- 
ing-desk 's in the attic, my books in the linen cupboard. 
Heaven only knows what's become of my easy-chair! 
I'm choking with rage and I've got to look pleasant! 
And for whose sake have I to put up with all this? For 
people not one of whom interests me in the least, for 
whom I don't care a rap; who are not even my clients. 
Yes, my good Madam Heuer on my right and your 
Ladyship the Aunt on my left, you're perfectly indif- 
ferent to me. [Rising as if about to propose a toast.] 
And you, my worthy guests, just make yourselves quite 
at home ; for I should be heartily glad if you were at 
home. Bearing that in mind, I raise my glass and cry: 
" Fareyewell! " 

Hermine (laughing). Your malice is irresistible. 

Felix. But all in vain. They come, one and all, they eat 
their fill, chat, dance ; and I must grin and bear it. But 
the grin will be really a sugar-coated dynamite bomb. 
Hermine, how very different things might be! How 
easily we could sit here together — tete-a-tete — and 
chat and — 



460 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebmine. And yawn. A whole evening tete-a-tete. I 
can't imagine what we could do to pass away the time. 

Felix. Why, we shouldn't try to pass it away; we should 
be glad it lingered. 

Hermine, But after all one must have something to dis- 
tract one's thoughts. 

Felix. On the contrary, we should concentrate our thoughts. 
We would lend an ear to our good spirits, to the timid 
Lares and Penates. They are frightened away by 
noise; but silence gives them confidence. They daren't 
enter a ballroom; but wherever two people are alone 
together, two people who love each other, behold ! they 
are there too. Don't you hear? 

Hebmine. Nothing yet. 

Felix. But you wiU hear them. There's still too much 
dance music ringing in your ears. They are here 
already, whispering of the charm and happiness of 
family life. And all of a sudden the hocus-pocus dis- 
appears, invitations and ballroom and long table. We 
are in my study. Of course I don't mean as it is now. 
Let's imagine it under normal conditions. 

Hebmine. I'm imagining it. 

Felix. I'm sitting in my easy-chair {sits down in an arm- 
chair) and smoking a cigar. May I light up? 

Hebmine. Not on any account! 

Felix. Then we '11 imagine that too. You 're sitting in an 
easy-chair at some distance from me. Will you be so 
kind? 

Hebmine {sitting down on an arm-chair). Well then, I'm 
sitting here. 

Felix. With a bang I close a thick book which I've been 
reading. You put down your needlework which is, of 
course, a surprise for my birthday. 

Hebmine. Is that all? 

Felix. First of all we say how glad we are to be sitting in 
this snug room when there is such a frightful blizzard. 

Hebmine {looking out). Why, it's not snowing at all. 



TETE-A-TETE 461 

Felix. That makes no difference. We '11 just suppose it is. 
That'll give the proper atmosphere. My lamp casts 
its cosy glow on your dear face, and I find you charm- 
ing in your simple wrapper. The snowstorm rages 
ever more fiercely; you feel afraid and draw nearer. 
[Hermine moves her chair nearer.] The wind whistles 
and howls and we hear a broken pane from the second 
story rattling down on the pavement. You feel still 
more afraid and draw nearer. 

Hebmine. Nearer again? 

Felix. I banish your fear with a kiss. 

Hebmine. Can't we imagine that, too! 

Felix. Certainly not ! I must give it to you. [Kisses her.] 

Hermine. So far your idea pleases me very well.- 

Felix. You lay your hand in mine. [Hebmine does so.] 
We let the past drift before our eyes and dream of the 
future, when we — 

Heemine (quickly). I'd rather keep to the past. 

Felix. As you please. We confess all kinds of little 
secrets from the time when our love was just waking, 
when you still seemed to me only an unattainable ideal, 
which I merely worshipped from a distance. 

Hebmine. Yes, you were terribly bashful, and I used to 
laugh at you. 

Felix. There we are. And I bribed old Baumann to spy 
upon you. Then I found out ■ — 

Hebmine. What? 

Felix. That you'd told your mother I was a wretched 
dancer. 

Hebmine. But I was painting your portrait in secret. You 
see, I persuaded myself at first that it was only your 
interesting head which appealed to me as an artist. 

Felix. Luckily you were no artist, however. 

Hebmine. And you hadn't an interesting head, either. I 
soon realized that it was really your heart that inter- 
ested me. 

Felix. And since then you 've given up painting altogether. 



462 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebminb. Oh, I can paint still. I'll bet I could draw a 

portrait of you with a few strokes, wMch would bear 

a striking resemblance. 
Felix. I don't believe it. 
Herminb. You'll see. 
Felix {taking out Ms note-book). Here's my note-book. 

You may draw my picture in that. 
Heemine. Now, just watch. But you must keep still. 
Felix. Stock-still ! 
Heemine {beginning to draw). Turn your head more to 

the left ! Now a bit further to the right again ! 

[Arranges Ms head.'\ That's right! Look pleasant, 

please ! 
Felix. Even happy, if only you'll let me. 
Heemine {drawing). No, no, it's not a good likeness. 
Felix {taking the book and looking). Is that meant for me? 

I think it looks more like the Old Bogy m the nursery 

tales. 
Heemine {with a sigh). I'm all out of practice. Why 

don't I ever have any time? 
Felix. Because you've too much time. 
Heemine. It is a great pity that I never have any time. 
Felix. You '11 have to pretend to be ill again some day as 

you did before. 
Hbkmine. Yes, I only did it to have a chance to see you. 
Felix. I know. ' ' You must come to her young ladyship 

right away, ' ' said old Baumann. ' ' Her ladyship has 

a cold in the head." I didn't need to be told twice. 

But instead of declaring my love, I only felt your pulse 

six times, which was quite unnecessary, and delivered 

a lecture on colds in the head and their deeper sig- 
nificance. 
Heemine. Thereupon you wrote me a prescription which 

I kept as if it had been a love letter. 
Felix. Oh, I wrote a very different prescription in secret. 

Well, I'll confess, but you mustn't be too frightened. 

It was a fearful mixture. 



TETE-l-TfiTE 463 

Hebminb. Not poison, surely. 

Felix. No, but verses. 

Hebmine (laughing). Why didn't you show them to me? 

Felix. As low as that I never sank, fortunately. But they 
were touching, heart-rending. My heart did always 
sorely smart, and there was in my breast no trace of 
rest. Thou wast alone the subject of my thought; of 
course in vain for peace I sought, and an unspeakable 
desire to weep haunted me even in my sleep. 

Hebmine. Oh, you poor fellow. 

Felix. But just listen to the invocations. First I simply 
styled you " fair creature," but later " sweet maid " 
or even " goddess of my songs," and once when you 
didn't give me any favor at the cotillion — 

Hbkmine (frankly). There wasn't a single one left. 

Felix. Then black melancholy seized me and I called you 
"daemonic serpent." That rhymed with "I'd fain 
repent. ' ' It was charming. 

Hebmine. * * Daemonic serpent ! ' ' Thus speaks true jeal- 
ousy alone. I must give you a kiss for that. 

Felix. Accepted ! 

\_A kiss. The door-hell rings. They jump up.] 

Hebminb. Oh, these constant interruptions! 

Felix. It's really inconsiderate of our guests not to let 
us alone. 

Hebminb. Besides, why do they come so late? They might 
as well stay away now. 

Felix. You can't expect that of them after inviting them 
yourself. [Baumann enters from the right.] 

Felix (to Baumann). Well, who is it? 

Baxtmann. Nobody. 

Heeminb. Who rang the bell then? 

Baumann. I'm almost afraid to tell. 

Felix. Who was it? Out with it. 

Baxjmann. I did. I went out on the street to see if there 
wasn't a carriage coming yet. Then the door slammed 
behind me and I was locked out. 



464 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Hebmine. Who ever heard of such a thing! Take care 
that we're not disturbed for nothing again. 

Felix. Yes, don't let a soul in! See that they pass only- 
over your dead body ! Bar the door ! Eaise the draw- 
bridge! I'll defend myself against my guests to the 
last drop of my blood. 

Baumann. Of course you're joking, sir. We've already 
been enjojdng the prospect so long — 

Hebmine ( angrily ) . Yes, we 're enjoying ourselves awfully ! 
Go now, Baumann ! 

Baumann. Eight away. [Exit to the right.'] 

Hebmine. Felix ! 

Felix. What is it? 

Hekmine, Do you really think the people who are coming 
tonight are false friends? 

Felix. Not true friends, at any rate. 

Heemine. But Hubert's your friend, isn't he? 

Felix. Perhaps. He has reason to be grateful to me. 

Heemine. Grateful to you? Why? 

Felix. I saved his life once. 

Heemine. You did? You didn't ever tell me anything 
about it. 

Felix. Why should I? 

Hebmine. Please tell me ! 

Felix. Well, it was just before our engagement. Baron 
Hubert had a little affair of honor. There had long 
been a rumor in society that he was paying assiduous 
attention to a certain lady, a lady who happened to be 
already married. 

Hebmine. Married! {Aside.) Oh, the hypocrite! 

Felix. One fine day, the injured husband heard of these 
attentions; a duel was the result and Baron Hubert 
was seriously wounded. 

Heemine. Go on! Go on! 

Felix. The doctors had already given binn up. I was an 
old schoolmate of his £ind did my very best to save him. 
I succeeded. That's all. 



TfiTE-A-TfiTE 465 

Hebmine (aside). And he,— oh, fie! Was I blind, then? 
Is that the sort of man one tries to please? (Aloud.) 
Perhaps, Felix, the dreadful snowstorm is keeping 
people away. 

Felix (gaily). Why, it's not snowing at all. 

Hbbmine. If only it would snow ! 

Felix. Do you really mean that? 

Hebmine. There was so much I still wanted to say to you, 
and what do we care for those strangers, anyway? 

Felix. I can't deny you're right there. 

Hebmine. Just let them come; we will act as if they 
weren't here at ,all. 

Felix. If you think -^ 

Hebmine (with sudden passion). I've deserved this lesson, 
Felix, I — I — 

Felix. What's the matter? 

Hebmine (throwing herself on his breast). Felix, I love you. 

Felix (tenderly). Hermine, my wife! 

Heemine. You silly, why didn't you open my eyes before? 
Could I believe in the joys of a world I had never seen. 
In this world which is small, yet greater than the great 
world. Let me be your pupil. Teach me the marvels 
of that profound, quiet happiness that outweighs a 
thousandfold the noisy intoxication of pleasure. Let 
us flee from everybody, far, far away! 

Felix. Do we need to flee further than our own home, 
Hermine ? Are not these four walls protection enough ? 
Let us live here for one another and for our true 
friends ! That selfish and insincere crowd, those people 
who are agreeable only by calculation, whose attentions 
are prompted by vanity, who understand friendliness 
but not friendship, affectation but not affection, shall 
cross our threshold tonight for the first time and the 
last. 

Hermine. For the first time and the last ! And now just 
watch ! 

[Goes to the table and rearranges some of the cards.] 

Vol. XVn — 30 



466 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Felix (in the foreground aside). And yet they say there 
are no miracles. The first time we've been alone to- 
gether in four months is the evening of our first great 
ball. [Observing Hermine, he goes up to the table.] 
Why, what are you doing there? 

Hermine. Just look! 

Felix. I'm not sitting between the two relics of the good 
old days any longer. Where, then? 

Hermine (triumphantly). Here! 

Felix {looking). ■ Beside you! What will people say! 

Hermine. Whatever they please. We two belong together. 

Felix. That's what I say, too. 

Hermine {producing a little card). And here's my pro- 
gram. Be kind enough to put yourself down for some 
dances at once. 

Felix. For which ones? 

Hermine. For as many as possible. 

Felix {writing on the programme). If you insist. 

Hermine. You must pay court to me, too, I insist on that. 
I want to vex them all. 

Felix. It shall be promptly attended to. Yes, they'll all 
be bored. 

Hermine. And we'll set the clocks two hours fast so that 
they'll leave early. 

Felix. We might also get up a little conflagration. A sort 
of general panic. 

Hermine. Whatever you say! I hate them all! 

Felix. Hermine, even at our betrothal I wasn't so happy. 
I must versify again : 

Fair creature, thou hast sore sickness endured 
But now, thank God, thou art quite cured. 

Hermine. Splendid. Yes, I'm cured for good. 

Felix {looking at the clock). Do you know what time it is? 

Hermine. No ! 

Felix. It 'U be ten o 'clock in five minutes. 

Hermine. Impossible ! And our guests — 



TETE-A-TETE 467 

Felix. Let him explain who can. Could Heaven for once 
have worked a miracle in favor of a mere husband? 
Experience says no. 

Herminb. Why, it 's simply extraordinary. I wrote all the 
invitations with my own hand. 

Felix. Did you post them yourself, too? 

Hekmine. No, I gave them to Lottie. Surely she hasn't — 

[Rings.] 

Lottie {from the drawing-room). Yes, Madam! 

Hekmine. I gave you the invitations the other day? You 
posted them, didn't you? 

Lottie. I gave them to Baumann, because he happened 
to be going out just then. 

Felix {opens the door to the right and calls). Baumann! 

Baumann {from the right). Yes, sir! I've seen to every- 
thing. 

Feux. The invitations, too? 

Baumann {taken aback) . The invitations ? I don't know — 

Lottie. Well, I gave them to you last Wednesday morning. 

Baumann {repeating mechanically). Last Wednesday 
morning? You did — ? I must have posted them, I 
must — (Remembering.) Of course I posted them. 
I had the same coat on as today. This was the pocket 
I stuck them in and — 

Felix {feeling in Baumann 's pocket). And here they stick 
still. 

Baumann. Oh, what a fool I am? [Drops to the sofa.] 

Felix {drawing a number of little letters, all the same size 
from Baumann 's pocket). That 's delightful ! It 's no 
wonder nobody declined. Our guests are in old Bau- 
mann 's pocket! {Opening one of the letters and read- 
ing) : " Dr. and Mrs. Volkart have the honor," etc. 
I suppose it's the same thing in the other letters — 
Victory! We're saved. 

Hebmine. And I've been running my feet off for a week. 
And all the nice things to eat. 



468 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Felix. We'll eat them all ourselves. 

Herminb. Lottie, run to the kitchen, quick! Save what- 
ever can still be saved. [Exit Lottie to the right.] 

Felix {to Batjmann, who is still lying, as if dazed, on the 
sofa). Cheer up, you old brick! It's not a hanging 
matter. 

Baumann {contritely). Oh, Madam, Sir, send me away. 
It's all I deserve. It's true I had the honor and pleas- 
ure of carrying you in my arms. Madam, but I'm no 
more good. The thought that our little baroness has 
now become a lady, a lady who gives great balls, that 
thought made me happy beyond all bounds, and in my 
joy, in my happiness I must have forgotten — 

Heemine. You're forgiven already, Baumann. 

Felix. Forgiven! That's not the way to put it at all. 
If I were a prince, Baumann, I'd certainly give you a 
patent of nobility at the very least. You've prepared 
for me the most pleasing disappointment of my whole 
life. Give me your hand. 

Heemine. And give me the other. [The door-hell rings.] 

"Bavmatsis {jumping up). Some one 's just come. 

[Exit quickly to the right.] 

Felix. There's faith for you. He is stUl hoping. 

Heemine. But if guests were to come after all — 

Felix. Without being invited? Of course they won't! 
But tomorrow I'll spread the report that Dr. and Mrs. 
Volkart will receive this winter only from 5 to 6 a.m. 
And now — 

Heemine. Now we'll celebrate the occasion of our first 
party — tete-a-tete. The table's set, the rooms illumi- 
nated for the festivities, we ourselves are in evening 
dress, and the fun will be fast and furious. 

Felix. And we'll have an excellent supper. Now do you 
hear what the good Lares and Penates whisper? 

Heemine. Very well I 

Baumann {returning). The pianist has come. 



TETE-A-TETE 469 

Felix. Then just tell him to sit down at the grand-piano 
in the ballroom and play a waltz. [Exit Baumann via 
the drawing-room with a stately bow.] Madam, may 
I ask for the first waltz? 
Hebmine (showing her programs). You have already put 
yourself down for it, sir ! 

[Walts is played behind the scenes.'] 
Felix. Your arm ! 
Heemine. For life ! 

[Exit via the drawing-room. The music continues. 
The stage is deserted for a moment, then the door- 
bell rings.] 
Baxjmann {comes out of the drawing-room and goes to the 
window). Who's that ringing now? It's Baron von 
Berkow; I know his carriage. But my master. and 
mistress want to be alone. [A louder ring; he shuts the 
window.] Yes, ring tiU you're tired! I've no inten- 
tion of answering. 

[Folds his arms and sits on the sofa. Felix and 
Hebmine are seen dancing in the drawing-room. 
As the ivalts continues and the bell is again rung 
violently, the curtain falls.] 




TO ADOLF WILBRANDT ON HIS SEVENTIETH 
ANNIVERSARY* 



ET, oh Master of Palmyra,! — 

You whose strength is ever young, — 
On your never-weary lyre a 
Laurel crown today be hung. 
Life for you is one with doing, 

One with battle and with song; 
In the front you'd still be hewing, 
Though your day were centuries long. 



Rest you never yet have captured, 

Since with inner glory bright 
Your great eyes beheld, enraptured, 

Earth, and loved her at first sight. 
Daily with unsated pleasure 

You would quaff and quaff again, 
That no drop of all her treasure 

Might have flowed for you in vain. 

Joy for you takes form, and sadness 

Even to a song is made; 
You, with high creative gladness. 

Need no Care-Eeleaser's aid. 
Cahn you smile, when youths around you 

Moan their mortal destiny ; 
Nature ever yet has found you 

Eeconciled to her decree. 



•Translator: Charles Wharton Stork. 

t In Wilbrandt's most famous play, The Master of PaJmyra, the hero is 
miraculously endowed with eternal life and strength. In the end he is 
compelled to seek the aid of Death, the " Care-Relea«er," later alluded to 
in the poem. Cf. Vol. XVI of this series. 

[470] 



FULDA: POEMS 471 

Well you know a man must think not 

That his tenure is for aye, 
But must play his part and shrink not 

As he nears the settling-day. 
Though the restless hours be flying, 

He by action frames his fate, 
And on deathless deeds relying 

Makes each passing moment great. 

Constant to yourself as ever 

Go with us yet many a year ; 
You to rouse our best endeavor, 

We to drink your words of cheer. 
If no festal jubilation 

Visits you with din and blaze. 
Take instead your friends' oblation, 

You who ne 'er have sought for praise. 

TO EDUARD MORIKE^f 

Through your quiet-souled attendance 

Upon verse and your vocation 
Euns a holy self-dependence 

And a smiling resignation. 

Where 's the need for you to cherish 

Far-brought beauty, far-sought treasure? 

Of your house and of your parish 
You are king by God's good pleasure. 

EPISTLE TO PAUL HEYSE t 

SthjL in my heart the tone of your farewell 
Sounds, as at eve reechoes to the ear 
The silver message of the matins bell. 



* Morike was a pastor-poet. Cf. Vol. VII of this series, 
t Translator: Charles Wharton Stork. 



472 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

And though I answered you with voice unclear, 
Stammered, and stood before you helplessly, 
Amazed with joy and awed with rapturous fear, 

You felt, as hand pressed hand, how frank and free 
My soul responded to what yours had given. 
Knowing the worth that hour had held for me. 

Then afterward, when you from me were riven, 

I stood a long time staring into space. 

Half blinded by the glow of that new heaven,— 

Until there came a voice that waxed apace, 
A longing that in words more fitly wrought 
I should attempt my gratitude to trace. 

And in my doubt and lack of skill I sought 
The terza rima, with whose golden chime. 
As in a cup, sweet music you had caught ; 

A cup wherein to this our grudging time 
You offered vintage of a nobler day 
Ripened by sunny memory sublime ; 

A cup which you beside the purple bay 

Wreathed with Italian roses as a gift 

From South to North to deck their bridal gay. 

For thousands who in dreams alone may drift 
Down with the current to the land of flowers 
Your guiding soul to purer joy doth lift. 

And thousands more, who know yon orange bowers 
By actual vision, join them to your band ; 
Your Muse their eager fancy richly dowers. 



FULDA: POEMS 473 

You early felt the magic of that land 

And gave your tribute as a vassal true, 

Who pays his debt with deeds of heart and hand. 

You mirrored in your verse that heaven's blue, 
And yourself heard upon Sorrento's shore 
The call of Mignon's longing, ever new. 

The love of classic beauty evermore 
Dwells in the harmony of German song 
And thrills each German bosom to the core. 

There grew the laurel, and with valor strong 
The Teuton bled to gain the victor's prize 
In cruel wars that raged for centuries long. 

Vain strife ! till one more happy and more wise, 
A peaceful hero, won the trophy bright, — 
The King of German Art with poet eyes. 

He did not urge barbarian hordes to fight, 
Yet none the less that famous land he won 
By God's good-favor and his own good might. 

He came and saw and conquered; like the sun 
His mild brave look shone through the misty pall. 
Which broke, and straight the time of doubt was done. 

Then, like the urge of Spring pervading all, 
Fresh flowers bedecked the tomb of many a sage. 
And buried gods responded to the call. 

Legends that slumbered in some moldering page, 
Roused to new action by that glowing flood. 
Revived the wonders of the golden age. 



474 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

All this, too truly great to keep such good 
For his own victor brow as garland meet, 
He gave his people as none other could. 

Laying the splendid offering at their feet, 
He then led home that child of classic face, 
Iphigenia, his fair daughter sweet. 

There he devised and built a holy place 

In which to serve his gods with fitting prayers, 

A temple deftly wrought of pillared grace. 

He went his way at last, and evil heirs 
Came in, unapt to reverence, apt instead 
To waste the mighty treasure unawares. 

Where he had called up Beauty from the dead, 
They found mid heaps of dust a weary task ; 
" Yon statue's but a stone," their wisdom said. 

And that no breath- of life might stir the mask, — 
God pity them! — they bottled Art up whole 
In Master Manikin's hermetic flask. 

In Goethe's track there came a pilgrim shoal 

Of students in an annual parade. 

Rich in state bounty, passing poor in soul. 

And everything was measured, counted, weighed, 
As if old Romulus had intended Rome 
To be a show-place for the pedant's trade. 

That from the Capitol to Peter's dome. 
From Palatine to Quirinal there swells 
An undiminished wave of living foam, 



FULDA: POEMS 475 

They do not dream within their musty cells ; 
But bringing home dry books, they come unwet 
From yon refreshing Heliconian wells. 

Such did that wondrous land become (which yet 
Might be a school for all the arts of life) — 
Naught else now but a curio-cabinet ! 

A throng, for academic misdeeds rife, 

Pouring through every church and art collection, 

Tortured their weary souls with futile strife, — 

Until at last their minds were a confection 
Of busts and pictures ranged in disarray, 
A tangled skein of names without connection. 

But to assuage their disappointment they 
Painted with many a shrewd and knavish trick 
AH modem Italy a lifeless gray. 

They called her art a varnish, pale and thick. 
And found her folk unworthy of their race, 
A very villainous, unsavory clique. 

Thinking the name " Italian " a disgrace. 
The tourist shunned the native everywhere, 
And only met the servile and the base. 

He knew the people by some instinct rare. 

He who in thirty days, on duty bent. 

Saw every church and picture that was there ! 

So they deceived themselves with vain intent, 

And going back no wiser than before, 

Heard not the gods laugh and the Muse lament. 



476 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

But tlien came you, modest and full of lore, 
To drink of wisdom at Rome 's titan breast ; 
You did not win so much. — and yet won more. 

With bookish choke-damp you were not distressed ; 
You gazed across your parchment to behold 
The streets, the market-place with poet zest. 

There 'mid the flowers and sunlight was unrolled 
The primal picture, and the vital spring 
Of Beauty bathed the landscape as of old. 

There before church and palace hovering 
Flitted madonna forms to Raphael dear, 
And bards by whom the Muses once could sing. 

On your receptive heart was imaged clear 
The marble altar, still with glory bright, 
Of inward harmony and faith austere. 

And when the goal before you gleamed with light. 
The power of Nature you could well invoke. 
For only at her bidding would you write. 

Not that at home your genius never woke. 
But 'twas the soul of human purity 
In Arrabiata and Annina spoke. 

How seldom are we what we seem to be, 
We others who 'mid labyrinthine ways 
Deny our better selves continually. 

But you have early won your poet bays 

By conquest for humanity, no less. 

And men must join in yielding you the praise. 



FULDA: POEMS 477 

A hero you, the Fatherland to bless, 
For bravely fighting you have led us all 
Where Nature bides in tranquil steadfastness. 

And after, in the lofty temple hall 

Of him whose wealth you guarded safe from harm 

You hung your pious offering on the wall. 

There unto those whose willing hearts were warm 
You showed a life to noble purpose true. 
Which e 'en in my young mind took lasting form. 

I somehow felt both far and near to you ; 

Surpassing far in my poor undesert. 

But nearer as my love for knowledge grew. 

You were my chosen guide, with wisdom girt, — 
Though to be sure this modem age has grown 
For gratitude and learning too inert. 

The scholar now, with empty pride full-blown, 
Will strike the best-won reputation dead. 
And mar the master's fame to mend his own. 

They tear the crown from every worthy head — 
For so they think to serve the cause of Art — 
And insolently crown themselves instead. 

This mpb in every tumult plays its part ; 

And though forsooth all other gods they doubt, 

Believing in themselves with all their heart, 

They run to each new idol with the rout. 
They sit enthroned in desert vacancy 
Whence all true wonder has been rooted out. 



478 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

But it appeared a worthier course to me 
To bend both head and heart before my guide. 
The man who dedicates himself is free. 

Thus, even ere the alternating tide 

Of life had brought me near you, I had made 

My stand by you and trusted there to bide. 

You let me stay beside you, and I stayed; 
I drew from out your treasure to my fill, 
While with my little you appeared well paid. 

And when I doubted of my slender skill, 

When the goal seemed too distant from my clutch, 

When nerveless and despairing sank my wiU, 

You would sustain me with a single touch 
And send me on my way with strong intent. 
Courage you gave, and courage is so much! 

And when I took my staff once more and went 

To follow out my traveler's vocation, 

I felt — how deeply! — what the parting meant. 

It was a parting, but no separation ; 

For no mere stretch of space can break the bond 

That holds two men with willing obligation. 

Therefore I thought of you, as late mine eye 
Beheld for the first time the sacred town 
And palace-bordered Arno gliding by. 

For then that medieval world looked down 
And spoke to me, till fables became true 
Which to my childhood told of high renown. 



FULDA: POEMS 479 

And with the old enchantment charmed anew 

A magic that, when life grew dark with cloud, 
Poured rays of sunlight through the rifts of blue — 

I half divined the wondrous living crowd 
Of visions, with whose undiminished grace 
Your genius had our modern world endowed. 

The first great masters of the poet race 
Prepared a path with sunshine ever fair, 
And the Muse led you to your destined place,— 

High on whose summit through the glowing air 
Shines the commandment : Follow thy desire, 
Trust thy true self, and have no other care. 

Who in his heart can cherish not the fire 
Which from that beacon streams in living flame, 
Let him not touch the chisel or the lyre. 

If e'er to me a flash of genius came 

I know not yet. The world sees only deeds ; 

You test the will, if it be free from blame. 

So, when I carried back the garnered seeds 
Which in the south had ripened into grain, 
And brought it back to serve my country 's needs, 

I humbly made a vow that no poor strain 
Of song I had should, like a jester's bell. 
Be tuned to serve the idols Lust and Gain. 

It was a providence which then befell. 

That on the threshold you should meet me, who 

With song and praise had led to Beauty's weU. 



480 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

And 'twas my happy fate that firmer grew 
^ The earlier bond, and that you then should speak 
The one word " friend " which raised me close to you. 

Full many an houf , full many a day and week 
Have drifted by, and still with shamef ast pride 
I thank the day which then for me did break. 

For a bright star is now my earthly guide, 
Circling above me with its glittering ray, 
And though my feeble strength be sorely tried, 

I hold my head erect and go my way. 
And still a deep desire my soul doth lift. 
That by the end of this my mortal day 

I may be worthy of your princely gift. 

HUMOR* 

God Humoe is a sturdy sprite, 

To him my faith I proffer ; 
And though the world go far from right, 

I'll leave him for no scoffer. 
For he who knows not how to laugh. 
He is forsooth a man of chaff, — 
Let him not nurse his sorrow, 
But drown himself tomorrow. 

And though it thunders, and the rack 
Of clouds be thick and gloomy. 

If I've the rascal on my back, 
My comfort's not far from me; 

For with his beaming smile of mirth 

The contradictions of the earth 

He well knows how to banish. 

As clouds in sunlight vanish. 



•Translator: Charles Wharton Stork. 



FULDA: POEMS 481 

And where a dandy, cringing sly, 

Some great man's train would follow, 

Or where a pack of fools go by 
With heads as proud as hollow,— 

God Humor sets, as sure as fate 

A cap and bells on every pate, 

For he 's an unseen agent 

In every earthly pageant. 

He offers spectacles to all 

And each who boldly asks there ; 
He sees the world as carnival, 

And all the men as masks there. 
The beggar's rags, the prince's braid 
Are naught but merry masquerade ; 
He laughs till tears come dancing 
At all such petty prancing. 

God Humor is a sturdy sprite, 

And why should men abuse him? 
His mischief helps the world go right, 

So why should we refuse him? 
Who Ughtly smiles, has hope of wit, 
Who freely laughs has all of it, 
And he who takes it evil, — 
I wish him at the devil. 



Vol. XVII — 31 




HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 

By Philipp Seiberth, A.M. 

Assistant Professor of German, Washington Univeraity 

^(fegrman j HE Vieiuiese poet, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 
born February 1, 1874, occupies a unique 
V^ /P position in the literature of this age. Until 
quite recently he has stood wholly apart 
from the leading movement in modern Euro- 
pean literature, known as " Naturalism." Eealistic pre- 
sentment of life was demanded by an age in which scientific 
facts threatened to discredit every other view of things. 
This scientific revaluation and the social upheaval that 
came with it, took possession of literature for their own 
ends. Thus the drama and the novel were enlisted in a 
movement aiming at a telling exposition of actual con- 
ditions and problems rather than at artistic representation. 
Literature proved a very effective means to these practical 
ends. With a close reproduction of reality for its object, 
* ' art ' ' came to mean the best technique for naturalistic 
representation. In this new phase literature was in a 
literal sense the result of life, and found its justification 
in the needs of life. 

Meanwhile poetry as the presentment and interpreta- 
tion of things under the form of beauty was falling into 
neglect. Hofmannsthal 's manner of writing appears in 
part as a reaction against this high tide of ultra-realism. 
He is a man of leisure and wealth, of a pronounced aristo- 
cratic temper; a poet-nobleman with an aversion to close 
contact with work and practical action, at a time when 
his type is felt to be a decided anachronism and is virtu- 
ally threatened with extinction. But his love of what is 
specifically poetic and purely artistic makes him the most 
conspicuous adherent of classical and romantic tradition 
of our time. The affinity most uniting him with romanti- 

[482] 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 483 

cism is his sensitiveness to every impression of beauty. 
Eomanticist lie is also by his aloofness from real life, 
amounting to nervous self-seclusion, which is certainly one 
of the specific- qualities of the romantic temper. 

The question of moment, and the interpreter's hardest 
task, is the poet's personality and outlook upon life. Hof- 
mannsthal is a serious and reflective poet. His earlier 
verse is overcast with a haunting melancholy which admits 
of no humor nor of any healthy view of things. Since this 
sad humor is really the dominant note in his disposition, a 
brief analysis of it must be attempted. He is under a heavy 
and persistent sense of the futilities of existence. In view 
of the uncertainty of life, the pessimistic mood is intel- 
ligible enough. Hofmannsthal's melancholy is at bottom 
the consciousness of the discrepancy between the real world 
and the poet's vision of a world of perfection and beauty. 
He contemplates life under the aspect of beauty mainly, 
and upon that score disappointments are many, since life 
is largely without beauty. Esthetic enjoyment, moreover, 
is rarely complete and the nervous analyst of experience 
must arrive at discouraging conclusions. The superlative 
of skepticism is reached when Hofmannsthal declares that 
' ' no direct way leads from poetry into life, nor from life 
into poetry." In his dramatic scenes which are crystal- 
lizations of the poet's own inner experience he wears quite 
habitually the inky cloak of the " great melancholy that is 
mixed in with all we do. " It is hardly necessary to say that 
in the poet of psychological impressionism, for whom a life 
of esthetic sensations is the be-all and end-all, melancholy 
is not the ghastly thing of horror and gloom, but a " God- 
dess that dwells with Beauty — Beauty that must die, and 
Joy whose hand is ever at his lips bidding adieu — ay, in 
the very temple of Delight veiled Melancholy has her sov- 
ereign shrine." This melancholy has a psychological value 
of great poetical power and not without intellectual mean- 
ing, but as an all-pervasive, ever-present ' state of feeling 
it seems an unfortunate habit of mind, weak and enervating. 



484 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

It is therefore pleasing to observe in Hofmannsthal's recent 
comedies a strain of excellent humor, surprising in one 
hitherto so utterly devoid of it. It seems that the maturing 
intellect has again proved its sanative power. 

As a thinker Hofmannsthal is not in any definite sense a 
didactic or philosophical poet. The true poet is tempera- 
mentally incapable and impatient of close, systematic think- 
ing. We get from Hofmannsthal something like scattered 
philosophical impressions, entirely without firm cognitive 
foundations for a rational interpretation of experience. 
While it is true that poets are not philosophers and should 
not seek in an emotional and amateurish way to encroach 
upon the domain of clear thinking, it is imperative that they 
cleanse their reflection into sound wisdom and truth by 
severe mental discipline. Schiller and Goethe are the illus- 
trious examples to be followed by all poets who wish to 
achieve greatness in this way. Hofmannsthal's habit of 
philosophizing and analyzing inner experience, in a purely 
subjective manner and with sincere introspection, makes 
many of his productions singularly interesting as human 
documents, good material for the psychologist of the poetic 
mind. It may be said of Hofmannsthal, after all, that he 
is preeminently an artist, and that implies that he is a 
master of form, and as regards pure form Hofmannsthal 
and Stefan George are today unrivaled. Nor is their 
astonishing facility and elegance a mere virtuosity of 
words, as the detractors of these poets are pleased to stig- 
matize it. Form is indeed never anything purely external. 
Formal beauty cannot be dissociated from the content or 
substance of the art- work ; in all genuine art they are one^ 
Hofmannsthal has expressed this convincingly and simply 
enough in one of his finished essays : "I believe, or rather 
I hope, that we have at last got beyond seeking to make a 
distinction between * inward ' and ' outward ' in art or in 
life. ' ' The content of Hofmannsthal 's art consisting essen- 
tially in subtle reflections and impressions of a very self- 
conscious poet, with a large capacity for the esthetic valu- 




HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 485 

ation of life in the highly-cultivated, reserved, aristocratic 
sphere, has for its necessary and close correlative a refined 
aristocratic form. His avowed cult of the word, notably 
of the adjective, which has fallen under the censure of 
some critics, is the very quintessence of his verse. An 
artistic web of words is to Hofmannsthal the most perfect 
thing conceivable — and rightly so, for the magic of the 
word is the beginning and end of the poet's art. 

The poetical compositions of Hofmannsthal admit of a 
clear division into two groups. In the first are his original 
pieces, poems and dramatic scenes ; in the second, transla- 
tions and poetical reproductions of old plays. The body 
of his lyrical verse is rather small; there are a few short 
stories; everything else is in the dramatic form. The 
dramatic pieces are not plays for the stage ; they are short 
scenes of a very lyrical character. It is difficult to say and 
perhaps useless to speculate as to whether Hofmannsthal 
lacks the gift of invention and construction for larger and 
specifically dramatic productions. The comedies at least 
seem to be good acting plays. His poetic one-act plays and 
scenes, by their concentration and intimacy, appear to 
stand to the drama of the normal length in the same relation 
as the short story stands to the hovel. The form seems to be 
natural and adequate for the substance of which these play- 
lets are made. Their reflective cast and lyricism, together 
with the usual absence of action, remove them from the 
categories under which the drama is usually discussed in 
dramatic theory and criticism. They are a variation of the 
species Seelendrama {" Drama of the soul "). Hofmanns- 
thal creates situations in which the characters are under 
severe strain of suspense or psychological trial, vibrating 
with nervous cerebration and emotion and under a strong 
sense of fate. Usually a long soliloquy is the heart of the 
scene. It is extremely hard to bring into clear feature the 
elusive symbolism, dreamlike unreality, pensive melancholy 
and artistic finesse which are the essence of Hofmannsthal 's 
art. They are the imponderabilia which are spoiled by 
clear definition. 



86 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

One is astonished to find in Ms first work, Yesterday 
1891), the same maturity of artistic finish and psycho- 
jgical discernment as in any of the later ones. Hofmanns- 
hal's beginning was quite precocious and there is not much 
videnc e of change or gro wth. In Yesterday a young' 
obleman is cured of the crotchet of believing that the 
•resent moment alone has reality and that yesterday is 
ead. He learns to understand the power of the past by 
lie discovery of his wife 's unfaithfulness. The setting is in 
he Italian Eenaissance, Hofmannsthal's favorite milieu. 
Lfter the fashion of a true romanticist he looks wistfully 
ack upon this period of great artists and of reckless, unre- 
trained enjoyment of life. It is scarcely unjust to reoog- 
ize a trait of weak sentimentalism in the romanticist's 
agemess to invest the past with an excess of radiant 
►eauty which in the light of modem knowledge does not 
lelong to it. An implicit disdain is thereby shed upon the 
iresent. Fundamentally, romanticism is reactionary and 
Lostile to a healthy absorption in the present life. How- 
ver, the Italian Renaissance, notwithstanding its oorrup- 
ion and criminality, is entitled to a large portion of 
dmiration, and its romantic revival is far more justified 
han the glorification of the Middle Ages in German roman- 
icism. Hofmannsthal really enriches us by taking from 
his period what has lasting value and fascination. 

The Death of Titian (1892) is a glowing panegyric of 
Renaissance art. The dying master is within the house at 
rork upon his last canvas, while his disciples are assembled 
n the terrace of the garden overlooking Venice and con- 
ersing together on the great Venetian's art. It is an 
mforgettable scene which endears itself by the sincerity of 
ts enthusiasm, couched in language of the highest beauty. 

Death and the Fool (1900) is a modern morality-play. 
Phe death of the wealthy and over-refined aristocrat is the 
heme of the scene, a situation recalling the medieval 
"Everyman, that most remarkable dramatic crystallization 
if the medieval view of life and death. When Everyman 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 487 

is on the last steps of life the things of earth leave him 
sadly in the lurch ; Good Deeds alone accompanies him into 
eternity. An austere memento mori speaks from this epi- 
tome of medieval piety. Hofmannsthal's Dives has nothing 
in common with his medieval cousin. As an intellectual 
aristocrat he has always stood aloof from life — a spectator, 

not a participant. His longmoJlologU ft , rpspmhling in Tn any 

f eatures that of Faust, i s a confession of a lost life wasted 
i n egotistical self-seclusion . — " Wh at do I know of life ; I 
sjemjto.havgJived jt, but at best I was an observer, una .ble ; 
to enter in. When others "gave and r eceiv ed. I stood asi des 
bqrn^iilaja£_aDJiL_JLiLa2£-ii^^ 

things, until I saw the sun mth-,dead.^eye&,and heard with 
dead ear s, under an inexplicable curse, at no time fully 
c onscious, nor ever with out consciousne ss. ' ' He is a me l- 
ancholy, bitter fool of life. UeatF comes to him not as a 
gfuesome~speotre, but~as^a great god of the soul who is 
present in the falling of leaves, and in the great moments 
of life is felt as a sacred, mystic power. The fool is utterly 
terrified at the thought of parting from life without ha.ving 
lived it. Death cannot grant respite or delay, but he will 
teach him to know and honor life before the end. The dead 
who loved him, the mother, the girl, and the friend, appear, 
revealing to him their world of intense feeling which he 
in cold indifference never understood nor shared. This 
vision of the meaning of life frees his dead heart and he 
dies relieved of the curse. The play is not without serious 
faults. It is not altogether convincing. Is it probable 
that, after a life of no genuine emotion, the man tempera- 
mentally incapable of healthy and sincere feeling should 
suddenly at death apprehend what by the very predestina- 
tion of his character he could not know? Such a man 
would die as he lived. But aside from this, the poem is 
valuable enoug'h through the truthful self -analysis of the 
Fool, whose experience is typical of the disabilities of those 
who are barred from life by many inward and outward 
inhibitions, and who feel the curse of hopeless isolation. 



488 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

The main import of this modern interlude is the significant 
ethical inference that we must not withdraw nervously and 
haughtily from humanity. It is a memento vivere wholly 
in keeping with the modern gospel of life. 

The Woman in the Casement (1899) is one of three pieces 
in a volume entitled Theater in Versen. Again the setting 
is Italian. It is a scene of tragic life. In the evening 
twilight the woman stands in the balcony awaiting her 
lover. Out of amorous expectation mixed with a bodeful 
sense of impending evil Hofmannsthal creates a subtle 
monoscene of strained suspense and changing psychological 
tints. ' ' I understand so well the unfaithful women, as 
though I had the gift of reading in their souls. I see in 
their eyes desire to yield themselves, to tremble in unknown 
forbidden pleasure; their love of play and willingness to 
venture all; how they delight in triumph and in sensuous- 
ness, in plotting and in giving pain." — (Andrea in Yester- 
day.) When the husband suddenly comes in she knows her 
fate. In hysterical defiance she unfolds the whole truth, 
and he, silent, unrelenting, strangles her with the silken 
ladder which she had suspended for her lover. 

In the Marriage of Sobeide (1899) the milieu is oriental. 
Because her parents wish it Sobeide has married an elderly 
merchant who is a good and a wise man. When she con- 
fesses to him that she has long loved a poor young man, 
he releases her and she goes at once to her lover's house, 
to find that she has been deceived by a heartless fellow who 
had never thought of marrying her. She returns to her 
husband and in his garden she kills herself. A meagre 
accoimt of the plot, inadequate as it always is, can convey 
no idea of the psychological fabric which the poet has 
made. 

The third piece of this group. The Adventurer (1899), 
is the apotheosis of the epicurean man of the world and 
adventurer of love. The unconcealed admiration for the 
man of the Casanova type is one of the least edifying things 
which we get from the mundane esthete Hofmannsthal. 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 489 

It IS difficult to regard without aversion this purely hedon- 
istic philosophy and practice of life, and it is here that one 
might wish that the poet had set himself a worthier aim. 
As to dramatic structure and artistic worlonanship, it is 
one of his best performances. 

The Emperor and the Witch (1906) and The Mine at 
Falun (1906) are symbolical fairy-plays, so allegorical and 
abstract as to be nearly unintelligible. In German litera- 
ture, at least, such an extreme of highly-wrought symbolism 
has not been attempted before except, perhaps, in Haupt- 
mann's Pippa. In an age of clear thinking such perplex- 
ing mystic things seem anomalous. For those who love it 
there is here both obscurity of presentment and present- 
ment of obscurity. 

The totality of Hofmannsthal's original compositions 
leaves one under a sense of indecision and doubt. Not- 
withstanding so much that is interesting and beautiful in 
them, they have no healthy life. He who looks for a 
wholesome philosophy of life or for an invigorating ethical 
idealism, through which the great poets of the world have 
been leaders in the education of mankind, will find this 
poet rather disappointing. Pessimistic resignation and 
fatalism underlie his representation of life, and his cult 
of the beautiful is mingled with misgivings and doubt. 

It remains briefly to speak of the poetical reproductions 
into which Hofmannsthal has turned a large part of his 
energies. We are now in the period of "World-litera- 
ture " predicted and inaugurated by Goethe. By the study 
and revival of older literature and in the cosmopolitan 
literary exchange of the present time, we are carrying out 
the program which he outlined. By his wide acquaintance 
with foreign literature, ancient and modem, together with 
his exceptional gift of recasting old dramas into the modem 
mold, Hofmannsthal has become conspicuous in this field 
of poetic activity. His method is not that of translating 
or rewriting with historical fidelity, but rather of freely 
adapting the original to the taste of the modem period. 



490 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

He appears to follow the example set by Goethe in Ms 
Iphigenia where the Greek heroine is completely trans- 
formed into the modem poet's ideal of perfect woman- 
hood. In a similar way Hofmannsthal transforms Electra, 
(Edipus, and Alcestis, his procedure varying somewhat in 
each play. Electra is changed into a hysterical super- 
woman, a demon of hate and revenge, with a decidedly 
psychopathic cast. (Edipus impresses one as a symbolical 
phantasmagoria of blind fate, while Alcestis is invested 
throughout with modern thought and feeling. Little of the 
specifically Greek is left. Hofmannsthal manifestly takes 
these ancient subjects wholly in a typical sense, and does, 
as a poet, what any modem reader will instinctively do — 
that is, he reshapes the behavior of the characters in accord- 
ance with modern norms of conduct; and since Hofmanns- 
thal is the artist of psychological impressionism he sees 
and presents them under the forms of this art. This is 
an altogether legitimate thing for the poet to do. The 
result may not be satisfactory to those outside of this 
sphere of art, but it is certainly very interesting and not 
without a larger significance. In the same spirit he has 
made his paraphrase of Otway's Venice Preserved, and we 
can accept his version all the more readily since the psycho- 
logical foundations of this drama are modern, the trans- 
formation being therefore less radical than in the plays 
from the Greek. One might rightly say that it has been 
made into a better play by as much as the modem poet 
possesses greater skill of psychological and artistic pres- 
entation. Quite recently Hofmannsthal has re-wrought the 
old morality of Everyman in a singular way. Here he 
uses the idiom of Hans Sachs with great skill and, while 
the plot is essentially taken over, it is stripped of what not 
unfrequently seems awkward and crude in the medieval 
play and elevated into the freer atmosphere of universal 
humanity. 

Traits have lately appeared in Hofmannsthal 's poetical 
makeup of which there was no trace in his earlier produc- 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 491 

tions. There is, notably, a vein of fine and unexpected 
humor in his two comedies. The Rosenhavalier (1911) and 
Christina's Homecoming (1910). They give us a sense of 
a permutation of temper and of open possibilities and, at 
any rate, of a happy triumph over the onesidedness of the 
poet's earlier phase. As Hofmannsthal is still a young 
man we may, in view of his achievement thus far, venture 
the prediction that he will, eventually, be among the 
greater German poets. 



J 



HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 

DRAMATIS PERSONS 
Death 

Claxjdio, a nohleman 
His Servant 

ClAUDIO'S MOTHEB "\ 

A Young Gibl abandoned hy Claubio y Departed Spirits 
One of Claddio's Eablt Friends J 

[492] 



DEATH AND THE FOOL (1900) 

TRANSLATED BT JOHN HEARD, JR. 

Claudio's House. Time — The Twenties or the Nineteenth Centtjbt 
Claxtdio's study furnished in the Empire style. In the hackground, right 
and left, are large windows; in the centre a glass door leading out to a 
balcony, from which some wooden stairs descend to the garden. On the 
left is a white folding door; on the right a similar one, concealed by a 
green silk curtain, leads to the bedroom. By the window, on the left, 
stands a desk with an. armchair before it. Along the window-pillars are 
glass cabinets filled with eurios. Against the wall, on the right, stands a 
darkensd-shriney-carvedAn G(ythio_^style; above it hang ancient musical 
instruments, and a portrait by one of the Italian Masters; it is almost 
black viith^age. The color of the wall paper is Ught, almost white. 
Stucco with, gilt decorations. 

Claud, {sitting hy the window. The evening sun shines in). 
Behold, the distant hills stand clothed with light, 
As though enameled by the sunset haze, 
And o'er them, hanging, alabaster white, 
A crown of clouds with golden tips a;blaze. 
Thus painted masters, in the days of yore. 
The bed of clouds, that their Madonnas bore. 
The sha.des of drifting clouds, a soft, deep blue. 
Pass o'er the rocky walls of the abyss, 
WhUe shadows of the crags, of darker hue, 
Cloak the broad valleys 'neath the precipice. 
Changing the prairies' emerald green to gray. 
And paler colors of the waning day; 
■s^While peak to peak flashe.sJhe. sunset!s_fire. 
How closely knit to^mineoTm heart 'sjiesire 
Are they who dwell upon those hillsides "gaunt, 
Whose 'meagre acres, tilled and reaped by hand, 
Give rest from labor, and supply each want!^ 
All wild and wondrous, ranging o'er the land, 

[493] 



(i*-' 



494 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The winds of early dawn which barefoot come, 
•jfl Laden with all the fragrance of the heather, 
Arouse them from their sleep ; the wild bees hum, 
And round about them is God's bright, warm 
weather. 
' JIheir very life is one with Nature's self, 

And Nature is the goal they strivejtojeach. 
. The weariness of toil brings rest itself. 
And thus they live, finding rewards in each. 
Down from the vault of Heav'n, the sun's great ball 
Rolls headlong, plunging in the distant waves. 
And sinks from sight amid the crystal caves ; 
'f Behind the trees the twilight shadows fall. 
The wind blows hot, as from a fiery wall, 
Built high along the shore. There cities stand; 
A tall ship is the cradle of their young, 
ITSpcked by some Sea-nymph's wave-encircled hand. 
A_bQld,_ high-minded race,, xjraf-ty-of-to^ngue. 
That sails o'er distant, wonder-teeming seas. 
Seas of vast silence, where no keel has been; 
High swells the bosom of the angry seas, 
[ Then falls, calmed of its wrath. 'Tis so. I've seen 
"(Eife's blessings stretched afar, and all Life's grace, 
While Life's great yearning stared me in the face. 
And then, as I approach what seemed so near, 
i3ffie~^0Tl4-grows .empty, and forlornly drear. 
My whole existence tjut a hollow dream; 
Old passions, but half-felt, and tears unshed 
Hang o'er this house, and o'er these streets, and 

seem 
The^ghosts of possibilities long dead, 
And stir again that yearning without, rest 
Which drives me forward on my fruitless quest^ 
^^ [Standing by the window.] 
The neighbors lighf their lamps, and round them 

glow 
Their narrow lives, within their narrow walls. 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 495 

W]iere_ jox-and^sorraw:, alteraating flow, 
With each sensation that man's heart enthralls; 
Wherefore they deem their souls are closely bound, 
And loudly do they mourn some absent friend. 
Or, if some one of them receives a wound, r~\ 

Thex-fiomfort.:^ word I ne'er could ea m^ty^tefadrjO^ 
For some vaJjLphiase to them communicates 

^ All that their sorrow and their grief demands. 
They do uot hatter at sey'ri fast-closed ga.tes 
Forevermore, with bruised and bleeding ha jids! 
W hat know _I of jnen's life , or yet of themf S 
I seemingly have stood there with the rest, 
N ^ feeling, only knowing it at best, 
[And could not make myself a part of them. 
IVe never plunged, nor lost myself therein. 
When others give and tak ^'] stand apart (^ 
With untoucnfed spirit and with empty heart, 

^"o And from the lips of those I held most dear —,,..= 

I've never drawn Life's essence sweet and clear ;^ 
I've never staggered down the lonely road, \.-^^ 
Shattered by sorrow, s plibuig as I went. ^' 
If through my heart some breath of Natur^owed, 
Or through my being some slight tremor sent. 
My qjer=aiCtive_b£aiQ, gave it a name, 'XjV i vkj^s^^-^ 
Nor could my wakeful memory forget ; 
And s.wift comparisons by thousands came, 
KilUng--aILconfidfiiic&~andgQyLi nor yet (^ 

'^ Did suffering stay behind for me to grasp, 
Dismembered though she was, disfigured, torn, 
Pale from long thinking, and by study worn. 
E'en this against my breast I'd gladly clasp! — 
Gladness from sorrow's self I could have drawn; 
With its great wings, Grief barely brushed my face ; 
I quailed beneath the touch, and could not mourn, 

\ For dismnterit alone, took sorrow's place! 

[Starting up.'] 
My fruitless meditation's checked by night; 



496 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

^trange are the thoughts of men 'twist-dark and 

But I am weary, and must go to bed. 

[The servant brings a lamp and goes out again.] 
The lamp 's pale glimmer brings to light again 
My study, filled with relics of the dead, — 
Vain splendors,, by whose help I thought to gain 
That lif^on which I'd set my yearning mind, 
Although the road thereto I could not find! 

[Standvng before the Crucifix.'] 
Christ, how many, many men have knelt 
rPefore Thine ivory feet, together nailed. 
Praying to know those strange, sweet fires that melt 
■^OuT hearts deep in our breasts! Yet each has 

quailed 
When lonely chills instead of fire forth came. 
And gone his way in anguish, pain, and shame ! 

{Before an old painting.] 
And thou, who star'st at me, thou, Gioconda, 
Painted against a background of deep wonder ! 
Thy body shines as though a soul were hid 
Behind those lips, that smile so bitter-sweet, 
Or 'neath thy glowing eye's dream-heavy lid; 
Just so much of this life thou teachest me 
As by my questions I have taught to thee ! 

{Turning aside to a cabinet.] 
/-^ Ye goblets, to whose silver brim have hung 
The lips^ of _many, in joy absolute. 
And ye, whose strains from many a heart have 

wrung ;'^,. 

Emotion 'a deepest pang-a! cup! 6 lute! 
How gladly would I change my lot with you, 
And in the past become imprisoned too! 
(X Ye shields of wood and bronze, that years have worn, 
Where imagery of strange, confused designs 
Of toad and angel, griffin and gay fawn 
With quaint old birds, and ropes of fruit combines 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 497 

To form a mass of soul-perplexing lines! 
And yet, ye strange devices, ye have known 
^^5 %°^£^iife» with all its changing moods. 
As strange as though thrown up by some wild 
'floods ! X 

Then, like a netted fish,|F"orni took you for her own !, ) 
J^aiirfy-^h^e Ipggued^jOu;' vainly sought, 
JSiJOTrrmsivi^uBtreties too firmly caught-f" 
Fflr when I learned your soul's capricious art, '■^-'' 
piercing its mask, mine e^m, grown dim by thought, Q 
No more could find the world's greatdoor^^ 
And hidden from me were its life and heartT] 
I stood encompassed by your fickle bands "^ 
Like Harpies, pitiless, whose ruthless claws 
Uproot each new-sprung flow'r, that stands 
In simple beauty by a stream 's cool bed. 
SoJost was T in ar fs dim, tortuo us maze 
That I saw light through eyes that were as dead, x[ ^ 
And thraogh .dead «ars heard what was round me P^ 

said. ^ _'^- 

I dragged this curse along my weary ways, ^ 
An unsolved riddle, yet not quite unguessed ! 
With half -felt gladness, and with little strife 
I lived my days, most like a book at best, — 
A book half -understood, yet half -unknown. 
Whose meaning but to living men is shown. 
And thatjvhich caused m.e joy_o_r_grief in life, 
.Ne'er seemedTo'me to be its very self, . 
But more a vision of a life to be, v^Xm^^^ 
The hollow likeness of another self, 
ptnd so, while ^ha'ntonas mocked my baflEled feet 
rve^^^^ffldgped through a life of love and woe,-/- 
COT -Suming. bu Lja'»fc4aa.ting sour and sweet. 
Haunted by^eams that come and never go ! 
XrhgaXraroge and looked Life i n the face r— - 
The swiftest-footed do not mn the race, 
Nor by the bravest is the battle won ; 
5^0L. XVII — 32 —^^^ 



498 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Joy brings not laughter, nor do woes bring tearjiiiie, 
Vain answer at vain question loudly jeers ! 
Above the sombre threshold, one by one, right. 

Intricate dreams arise, where Joy seems all. 
Yea, wind and wave, and fills each passing day! 5fe 
Eudely deceived I am, yet, Wisdom's thrall, 
Consumed by empty pride, I go my way 
Of sad, renunciation, nor complain. ,_^ 

The people round from questions now refrain. 
And think me just an ordinary man! 
; [The servant brings in a plate of cherries which 
he puts on the table, and starts to close the door 
to the balcony.] 

Clatjd. Leave the door open. What affrights thee so? 

Sebv. Your Grace would scarce believe me if I told. 
(Half to himself, as if in fear.) 
They've hid themselves within the summer-house. 

Claud. Who's hidden? 

Seevant. Pardon me, I know not, Sir. 

A crowd of people — an uncanny lot. 

Claud. Beggars? 

Sebv. I cannot say. 

Claud. Then lock the door 

That opens from the garden on the street, 
And go to bed, and trouble me no more. 

Sebv. That's what affrights me so; I've locked the door 
But — 

Claud. WeU? 

Sbevant. They're sitting in the garden now! 

On yonder bench where the Apollo stands, 
Close by the curbing of the well there sits 
A couple in tha-shadow. Another one 
Is sitting on the Sphinx; we cannot see 
Him; for the hedge of yew stands close between. 

Claud. Are they all men? 

Sebvant. Some men, some women too. 

Not like poor beggars, but in ancient style, , 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 499 

Such as one sees in etchings, are they clad. 
YetjugaJhe5L.45ajmat.be, whe- sit ajiA stare 
At one, as.ifihex-Stared.ai.enipty space 
DhAXi In juch a gruesome way, with cold, dead eyes ! 
i No, they're not men. Yet, be not angry. Sir! 

For nothing in the world would I go near ! 
Pray God, that in the morning they'll be gone! 
With your permission, I will bolt the door 
And sprinkle holy water on the lock. 
I've never seen such men as these before; 
And men have no such eyes as these folk have ! 
Dlatjd. Do what thou wilt. Good night. 

\_For a few moments he walks up and down the 
room thoughtfully. From behind the scene 
sound the JLomr aina a nd toiiehm ff. strains of 
ajnaJm; at first, faint and distimt; the music 
draws nearer and nearer until, at last, it rings 
deep and full, as if from the next room.] 
Claud. Ha, I hear music! 

Ay, and it speaks most strangely to my soul! 
Has that man's foolishness disturbed my heart? 
And yet, methinks, I never heard such tones 
Drawn from a violin by mortal art. 
.(^_In deep and throbbing strains sweet and wistful 
It echoes in mine ears with power divine ; 
Jt seerng like endless hopj _at Pity's shrine. 
And pramis£S_j:filifil f rom all my pains J 
Now from the ancient walls, so still and stem, 
It flows, and fills my soul with peaceful light, 
As did my tender Mother's fond return. 
My mistress', or som6 friendlg, long lost from sight ; 
it raises thoughts that cheer me, and bring joy. 
This music takes me back to chUdhoodjdays. ^ \ , 
So stood I in the springtime once, a boy \5j^ 
Who thought to find all Life in pleasant ways^ 
And then the wish to pass all bound 'ries came,^^ 
And swept my soul with dim, unknown desire; \> 



l's Qikme, 

'\ L. 



500 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

And dajtsaiLwaadermg^came, with passion' 
That set the whole wide world and sea afire ; 
The roses blossomed, and the bells chimed b>iight, 
As though rejoicing in this new-sprung light. 
A thrill of life passed through each living thimg, 
As striving to draw near to him who loved ! 
How stirred was I in soul, how deeply moved 
To be a living part of Life's great ring! 
Then I approached, whereto my heart did guide 
That surging stream of love which feeds us all. 
Contentment filled my mind and kept it wide. 
Which now not e'en my dream can understand. 
Eing on, sweet music, still a little while. 
And touch my heart with thy mysterious hand. 
For then my world seems brightened with a smile, 
And life, entranced, re-lives its earlier years ; 
Then, flame on flame, the fires of joy glow bright, 
And melt the stones of life, and dry my tears. 
Old and confused Wisdom, hoary white. 
Which bows my back..beneath,Ms heavy weight. 
Loosens his strangling clutch, charmed by the sound 
Of childish ignorance, which holds him bound 
In its simplicity so deep and great. 
From far away, the peal of many bells 
A life scarce thought of in our dreams foretells, 
AJifej_where Form_^n all-importance lives, 
Austerely kind in what it takes and gives ! 

[The music stops suddenly.'] 
The music stops which deeply moved my mind, 
^Vherein both Grod and man I seemed to find, 
And he who worked this spell in ignorance. 
Some beggar-minstrel, holds his cap for pence ! 

[Standing hy the window on the right.'] 
'Tis strange, he is not standing in the street ! 
Perhaps I'll see him from this window here. 

[As he goes to the door on the right the curtain 
is siUntly thrown hack and Death stands in the 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 501 

doorway. He holds the violin how in his hand, 
while the violin hangs from his belt. He looks 
quietly at Claudio who steps hack in horror.} 
Claud. A horror seizes me, a damp, cold fear. 

Since thy strange fiddle sounded then so sweet, 
"Whence comes this awful dread at seeing thee? 
My throat is dry, my hair stands all on end. 
Away! t'or thou art Death ! What would 'st of me? 
I fear thee ; go away ! I cannot scream ; 
My grasp on light and life fails like a dream ! 
Go, go ! Who called thee, or who let thee in? 
Death. Arise, and cast this fear inherited 
Aside, I'm not a skeleton of dread; 
Of Dionysus' and of Venus' kin 
I am; the God-D£Jiiiiaan.Sjauls^stajids--here. 
\Thou'st felt my touch when some warm summer 
' night 

Through golden rays, a leaf fell dead and sere, / 
My breath passed by thee in the waning light. 
For 'twas the wind that breathes on all ripe things. 
When thy emotions fluttered up to fill 
Thy soul, with warm and beating wings. 
And when thy heart stopped, with a sudden thrill 
At finding this strange monster kith and kin, 
VkWhen in Life's dance thou stood 'st against thy will, 
And took'st as thine the world and all therein. 
Each time thou'st faced some all-important hour 
Which made thy mortal body quake with fear 
I've touched thy inmost self, and standing near, 
I've breathed upon thy soul with secret powerl^ 
Claud. Enough, and though unbidden, welcome, friend! 

\^After a short poAise.'] 
But pray, why earnest thou, and to what endj^ 
Death. My coming means but one same thing to all. 
CLAuorAnd yet my life 's thread is not nearly gone, 
1 For mark me well : ere any leaf doth f aU 
lit is decayed, and its life-sap is drawn. _ 
Not so with me; I?Kfi^ ever lived my day 



502 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Death. Yet like all others thou hast gone thy way. 
Claud. As flowers, growing by a river's flow, 
Are by the sombre waters swept away, 

jj3VIy youthful days slipped by; I did not know 
IThat time was called our life's all glorious day. 

:^nd then I stood ojatside life's fast-closed door. 
Aghast with wonder, and with yearnings wrung, 
'Hoping that 'mid the storms' majestic roar 
It would burst open, by some power sprung. 

' It came not so to pass ; but once inside 
I stood unconsecrate and unaware, 
Helpless to breathe my deepest wish in prayer. 
Shadowed by fate, from which I could not hide. 
My soul distraught, and in the twilight lost. 
Afraid, disturbed in my heart's iimermost. 
Half-heartedly, oppressed in mind and mood. 
Strangely imprisoned in the wondrous whole," 
True_iirfi_X nevei^-felt-inflame. my soul _ 

s Nor Life-'s great waves rush surging throjigh my 

!)y blood! 

That God I never found upon my quest 
With whom we must do battle to be blessed 
Dkath. To thee was given as much as to all men^ — 

<\Sn~e'S%lylife7f olive in earthiywi'sel 
iFor, in the heart of each, a Spirit lies' 
ivWho with his breath establishes again 
|l ruling in this chaos of dead things, 
By which each one his garden is to sow, 

'Wherein his power, his pain and joy must grow. 
Woe then if I'm the first this news that brings! 
Man binds, and man is bound ; wild lonely-J^urs 
Bring these discoveries. The tears of sleep^V^ 
And utter weariness corrode your power^,-^-^'^ 
Still willing, but oppressed with yearnings deep. 
Though half refused, with aching, long-drawn breath. 
And while warm life still throbs within each vein" 
Ye fall into my arms, for I am Death, 
Yet each of vou is rioe. 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 503 

3iAUDio. Not SO with me ! ' 

I am not ripe, so let me still remaia ! 
Let me live on ; no more will I complain. 
Firmly I'll grasp the sod of earth; for see^^ 
AjseatjiesireiQiivfi crie&ont aloud^.^--^ 
And Terror's touch has torn the veiling cloud.^ 
At last I feel ! O leave me, let me live ! 
I feel it by this crmnbling of all walls. 
To earthly things my heart I now can give. 
And thou shalt see, no more dumb animals 
I'll think this world of men, no longer dolls! 
Their every sentiment shall touch my heart; 
Jin grief and sorrow I will take a part ; 
With.all my being Faith I'll strivejp^leam, 
ISinoe on this life, through Faith, we gain our hold 
po will I live, and so my life I'U mould 
That good and evil rule me turn by turn 
With equal power to make me laugh and bum. 
Then will these lumps of clay take fire and live ; 
Along Life's road, real living men I'U find; 
No more with silent sneer I'll take and give. 
But will be bound, and mightily will Ijj^^! '^ - 

[As he sees the unmoved countenance of Death 
he speaks with rising agitation.] 
Believe me, 'twas not so before; for see, 
Think 'st thou that I have loved or hated? Naylx 
Not e'en the seeds thereof have been in me; 
Illusions were they, empty words' vain play! 
It's true! I'll prove it! Here these letters, see! 

[He throws open a drawer and takes out packages 
of old letters.'] 
The words and vows of passion. Love's complaint! 
But thinkest thou that I could ever know 
"What she felt; what my answers seemed to paint? 

[He throws the packages at Death's feet. The 
letters scatter on the floor.] 
There hast thou this love-episode's whole life. 



504 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Where I, and only I, swept to and fro 
As following the throbs of inner strife, 
Now good, now bad, I throbbed with them again, 
With every noble impulse scoffed to shame! 
There hast thon it ! the rest is all the same, 
Devoid of meaning, joy, or any pain. 
And where true love or hatred never came ! 
Death. Thou fool, thou wicked fool; before thou die 
I'll teach thee to revere the life thou leav'st! 
ptSSid silently, and mark with careful eye 
ITbat those, whom thou but barren clods believ'st 
Were filled with Life's great joy, or bitter sting. 
And thou alone wast void of everythkig.! 
^~~[Death plays a few notes on his violin as if to 
call some one forth. He stands by the bedroom 
door near the front of the stage on the right. 
Clattdio stands by the wall on the left in the 
semi-darkness. From the door on the right 
comes the Mother. She is not very old and 
wears a long dress of black silk, with a cap of 
the same material, and a white ruche which fits 
closely around her face. In her delicate, paie 
hands she holds a white lace, handkerchief. She 
come§ quietly from the door^and walks silently 
about the room.] 
Mother. How many sad, sweet sorrows I breathe in 
With this room's atmosphere, for half my life 
On earth hangs here like lavender's faint breath. 
So delicate, yet dead. A mother's life 
Was mine ; one-third was pain, one-third was care. 
Anxiety one-third. Unknown to man 
Are these? {^Standing by the chest.] 

And is the comer's edge still sharp? 
He struck it once, and made his temple bleed. 
Ay, ay, he was a little child, but wild. 
He ran so fast, and was so hard to hold. 
And, oh, that window ! I have stood there oft 
And listened in the night to hear his step, 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 505 

Aroused from sleep by fond anxiety 

When clocks struck two, then three, and it was dawn, 

And still he had not come ! How oft — But he, 

He never knew it ! I was much alone 

As well by day as night. My hands, indeed, 

Could water flowers, dust, and polish brass 

Until it shone, throughout the dragging day, 

But all the time my mind had naught to do. 

A blank wheel in the circle spins around 

With undefined fears, and secret dreams 

Of pains but dimly felt, that are a part 

Of that strange and mysterious holiness, 

Which is the secret of maternity. 

And interweaves itself with Life's great woof! 

But I may now no longer breathe this air, 

Oppressive, sweet, yet sadly nourishing — 

The air of life that's passed — for I must go, 

And go for evermore ! 

[She goes out by the middle door.] 

Claud. Ah, Mother, come. 

Death. Hush, be still! 

Thou canst not bring her back. 

Claud. Ah, Mother, come. 

And let me, humbly kneeling by thy side, «.,^'C^ 
Express with these mylipsj-'dQg^e p'ressed together, 
Yet trembling, trembling in their silent jprida — 
Let me but speak ! Ah, hold her firmly ! Call her ! 
She did not wish to go. Could 'st thou not see? 
WTiy dost thou force her, Horror? Answer me! 

Death. LeaY.ejne what's mJ ae,; it once was thiae;.^ 

Claud. God, 

I did not feel it ! Withered, barren, sere. 
What have I ever felt, that my whole heart 
Reached out and yearned to her, when she was near? 
As in the presence of divinity 
She made me shudder, and there ran through me 
Man's longings, man's desires, and all man's fears ! 



506 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

[Death, unmoved hy his complaints, plays an old 
Volhslied. Slowly a young girl comes in. She 
wears a simple dress, with large flowers on it, 
sandals with crossed laces. Around her neck 
she has a hit of_^^Jt. Her head is uncovered.] 
The Young Girl. 'Twas fair! Dost thou no more re- 
member it? 
Oh, thou hast made me suffer cruelly, 
^ut what is there in life ends not in tears? 
=The happy days I've seen were very few, 
\5But they were fair, ay, fair as in a dream! 
iThe flowers on the window-sill ! My flowers ! 
; JThe little shaky spinet, and the desk 
\ Wherein I kept thy letters, and the things 
Thou gavest me! — Nay, nay, deride me not! — 
T hese trifles wgre^ll beautiful to me. 
And spoke to me with loving, living Ups ! 
When in the sultry evening it had rained. 
And we were standing in the window here 
The fragrance of the rain-drenched flowers — ! 
'Tis gone. 

And everything that was alive is dead. 
Buried within our fond love 's little grave ! 
Ah, 'twas so beautiful ! Thine is the blame 
That it was fair, and thine, too, is the shame 
For casting me aside, a thoughtless child 
That, wearied of the play, unheeded drops 
His flowers. God! _ I'd naught tt) bind thee with! 

[After a short pause.} 
And then, when thy last cruel letter came, 
I wished to die ! I do not say this now 
To cause thee grief. I wished to write to thee 
A farewell word, but not to chide thee, dear. 
Not full of anger, or of wild distress. 
But that thou mightest long for me once more. 
And for my love ; to make ihge, shed one tear 
Because it was too late. I did not 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 507 

Indeed why should I, for how did I know 
; How much of thy great heart was in the things 
i' Which filled my little mind with feverish joy, 
" Until I walked by day as in a dream? 
^:22^JfilLcaJttiiQ±.makeJ^^ 
AB4jig^l-^HS,g:9i.^llgJ 'g J;9M to lif e agiain ! 
But people do not die of wounds like these, 
'Twas not till later, after misery, 
And long, gaunt years of pain, that I could die, 
And then I begged that when thine hour should come 
I might be with thee then, not to reproach. 
Nor raise the ghastly past with words ; but more 
As when one drains .a goblet of rare wine 
The fragrance calls to mind with fleeting thought 
Some old desires, half faded and forgot. 

[She goes off; Claudio hides his face in his hands. 
As she goes out a man enters. He seems to be 
of about Claudio 's age. He wears a disordered 
and dusty traveling suit. EnmL^^ Wt side 
of his ch est protrudes the wooden handle of a 
dag ger. H e stands in the middle of the stage 
facing Claudio.] 
The Man. Dost thou still live, thou everlasting mummer? . 
Still reading Horace ! Dost thou stUl rejoice 
At clevgLfynioisms vnirl nf heart? 
Thou mad'st approaches to me with fair words. 
Saying that I had brought things to thy mind 
Which slept within thy soul, as speaks at times 
The night- wind of far distant lands. Ah, yes! 
A harp 's fair music in the wind wast thou. 
The amorous wind was some one else's breath 
Exhausted quite, now mine, another's now ! 
Long were we friends ! ^es, Mgiids ! That is to say, 
XaJMJxmi&n-^was-imr-talkJhg ^y an d night ; 
Our intercourse with other men, hay more. 
In common trifled we inih. one same girl ! r^ 

'But ou r community was that of lord 

~~Kndi slaveTwEo shkre in commo n hous ej_iindj^l&. 



508 THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 

Dog, mid-day meal, or whip ; to o ne the house 
Is-ha ppiness, a prison t.n the, nt.hpr. 
The litter carries one, its carven pole 
Bruises the other's shoulder; for the one 
The dog does tricks upon the garden walks, 
But 'tis the other one who feeds the brute ! 
The half -developed- feelings .of-my soul, 
Pearls of -greaLaorrjOJE horn, thou took'st from me, 
Tojthrowjjmml^ke^cheap pLay&ings in the^irj 
Swift to make friends or conquest e'er wert thou, 
My soul in silent supplication yearned, 
Aloof and shy, with close-set teeth, while thou 
Boldly didst lay thine haaid on everything ! 
For me tlifi word, shy^-basliaimg^ -died 
El eg it was born.- A womafl crossed 
Our path. And, lo, it seized me as disease 
Strikes down a man, when all our senses reel, 
;^linded from staring long at one same goal, 
A goal of heavy sweetness, of wild flames, 
And drowsy fragrance flashing like fool's-fire 
r^he black darkness! Oh, thou saw'st it all! 
It charmed thee! " Yes, since oft I feel the same, 
The girl's sophisticated ways have charmed 
'My mind ! Her blase air, her bitter pride. 
So cynical, and yet so young! " Didst thou 
; Not so describe her to me afterward? 
<- It charmed thee, but to me 'twas more than soul 
And body! Wearied of the doll, in time 
-Thou gavest her to me ! - But by disgust 
For thee how changed in face, how haggard, worn. 
Stripped of her former grace and wondrous charm, 
Her features lifeless, and that mass of hair 
J (Hanging as dead! — A mask, and nothing more 
\ iThpu gavest me; worthless, contemptible. 
The. work of thy vile art which, acid-like, 
Had seared and scarred that strange, sweet being. 
For this I hated thee as bitterly 



DEATH AND THE FOOL 509 

As I instinctively had loathed thy faoe; 
And I avoided thee. 

And then my fate, 
Which blessed the broken bits of me at last, 
Drove me with one fixed purpose in my breast 
On to a goal ! Xh ie impulse sti ll remained 
UnbUghted by thy poisonous influence, 
^nd for anoble aim my fate drove"me 
Upon the grim~point of a murderer ^s knife, 
And left me, slowly rotting in a ditch 
\Beside the road; rotting because of things 
Thou can'st not understand, and yet which are 
'Ebligg-Mass.ed_aiS_co mp_ared to thee, who art 

/To others naught, whg^ nothing are to thee! 

\ - ~ ^^-^ -™»™„ lUe goes off.l 

CiiATJii To others naught, who nothing are to me ! 

^-^ {He raises himself slowly.^ 

As on the stage a low comedian 
\ Who has his cue, and speaks his part, and goes 
I Indifferent to others and untouched 
I Alike by his own voice and others' cries, 
Who are, in turn, not moved at all by him ! 
Just so upon Life's stage I've played my part, 
But badly, without power! — Why was it so? 
And why, Death, dost thou teach me to see 
This life, not darkly, through a veiling cloud 
But clearly, rousing something in my heart 
As it goes by? Why in our childish thoughts. 
Do we form such ideals of this life 
That-wheH, if e'er, it comes to pass, it leaves 
Us but the hollow shudder of sad thoughts? 
Why doth no music echo in our ears 
To raise a magic spirit-world around, 
Within whose secret grasp our heart is bound. 
Outpoured, to us unknown, as secretly 
As flowers beneath the brown earth hidden lie? 
Could I but be with thee, there where thou art 



510 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

But heard, and not forever torn apart 
Byettdjg ga.tei fl^! Oh, I can! Grant thou 
All thai"^rhyrSwith thou now has t-threatenc 
My W'^j^f l'Wn'i^y^'T^f^h, he m y life now! 
latpsince I recognize them both, makes me 
Call this one Life, and that one Death, since thou 
Canst p ress more of this life in one short hou r 
Than was contained in my whole life befor e ! 
I will forget dim darkness and its lore. 
And consecrate myself to thy great power! 

[He pauses for a moment in thought.] 
Maybe that this is but a dying mood 
Caused by the watchfulness of dying blood; 
Yet in this life I've never understood 
As much, and so, O^Dgath,! bless thy jowe r. 
Tf^ likft a. candle. I must die . ^nuffedj)ut 
My Triipd still overflowin g with tbis .hour, 
Withff.ekt all, 
tiiew not that I liyed_until 
As when one sleeps the poweroTwEat he dreams 
May waken him, so is it now, and I, 
ElalfiUed of feeling never felt before, 
Awake in Death from Life 's compelling dreams ! 
"^ \_He falls dead at the feet of Death.] 

-^BATH (as he moves away, shaking his head). 
HosEJwenderf ui this |nortal seed \ •<? 
"Who the invisible can see. 
Who Life's unwritten book can- read, 
Who scattered _thiugs.-can firmly bind, 
-And paths in the impenetrable darkness find ! 
[The room remains sUent; outside one can see 
Death go past, playing the violin. Behind him 
walk the Mother, the Young Ghil, and close 
beside them a figure which closely resembles 
that of Claudio.J 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 

By Hugo von Hofmannsthal 
A Deamatic Feagmbnt 

ENACTED AT MUNICH IN MEMORY OF AEXOLD BOCELIN 

deamatis persons 
The Prologue 
Fnjppo PoMPONio Vecellio (called Titianello), the Master's son 

GlOCONDO 

Desiderio 

GlANiNO (He is sixteen years old and very handsome) 

Batista 

Antonio 

Paris 

Lavinia, a daughter of the Master 

Cassandra 

Lisa 

The time of the action is 1576 when Titian died in his tdnety-ninth year. 

[511J 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN (1901)* 

TRANSLATED BY JOHN HEARD, JR. 

Scene 

The curtain, a tapestry, hangs as a background. In front of it stands 

a bust of Boeklin on a pillar at the foot of which there is a basket 

of flowers and blossoming branches. 
At the last measure of the rrmsic the Pbologue enters, followed by Ms 

torch-bearers. He is a young man dressed as a Venetian mourner, 

completely in black. 

Prologue. Be silent, Music, for the stage is mine. 

And I will mourn; 'tis proper that I should! 
The blood of all the Youth of these our times, 
Flows in my veins ; and he, whose statue stands 
Beholding me, was my soul 's dearest friend. 
Great solace have I drawn from this good man. 
For deep the darkness of the present age! 
And, as the swan, most blessed bird that lives. 
With gentle, amorous kisses takes its food 
From Naiads' hands, that shine with pearly 

drops, 
So, bending o'er his hands, I drank in dreams, 
My soul's sustaining draught. Shall I then 

deck, 
With blossoms only, thy dear likeness now, 
While thou hast decked the likeness of the 

world 
And all the blossoming things therein for me, 
With such a wond'rous sheen of light, that I, 
Entranced, now cast myself upon the ground, 
And, in my joy, can feel great Nature's self 
Enfolded in her cloak of mystic light? 

Hear me, sweet friend, I'll send no herald forth 
To cry thy name to the four winds of Earth, 
As when a sovereign dies! Kings' names 
remain. 



* The Death of Titian was written in 1892 and appeared, in part, in 1894. The Prologue waa 
added for the BSoklin memorial in 1901. — Ed. 




Permission Berlin Plml". i < 



PARADISE 



LUDWIG ^'ON HOFMAXN 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 513 

Descending to their heirs ; and marble tombs 
Proclaim the glory of their fame ! But thou 
Wast a magician of such awful power 
That, though thy earthly body pass from sight, 
I know not what of thee still lingers here, 
Undying in its might, to raise an eye 
Of flashing darkness from the sombre stream, 
Or, from the ivy, hark with listening ear ! 
I never shall believe, that I'm alone, 
Where trees or flowers are, or even stones 
Lie noiselessly, or little clouds that drift 
Across the sky; and I shall always think 
That something brighter than bright Ariel, 
Flits after me. I know that secretly 
Thou mad'st alliances with Nature's self! 
For, see, the meadows decked in Spring's green 

cloak 
Smile back at thee, as smile a woman's lips 
On him, to whom she gave herself, last night ! 

I came to mourn for thee, but from my tongue 
Fall words of ravishing, voluptuous joy, 
So 'tis not proper that I linger here. 
But I will smite the ground thrice with this rod 
And summon ghostly figures to this spot; 
And them I will so burden with my woe 
That they shall stagger as they walk, — that 

each 
May weep aloud, and deep within him feel 
How great the blow that's fallen on our life 
And on our every act. 

Behold a play 
In these sad hours of darkness and cold dread, 
And learn the worth of him. Master of All, 
From shadowy lips and words of those long 
dead! 

[He goes off followed by his torch-bearers.'] 

Vol. XVn — 33 



514 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The proscenium is dark; the rmisic begins again; the statue varnishes. 
Three blows of a staff resound; the tapestry divides, and discloses the 
scene. 

The scene is on the terrace of Titian's villa near Venice. In the back- 
ground a stone railing terminates the terrace. It is broken here ami 
there, and over it the tops of pines and poplars wave in the distance. 
On the left, a flight of steps {invisible from in front), runs backward 
into the garden; two marble urns on the railing mark the spot where 
the steps descend. The left side of the terrace falls off sharply to the 
garden below. The balustrade is concealed at this point by ivy a/nd 
trailing rose vines, which, with the tall shrubs of the garden, form am 
impenetrable thicket. 

In the background, on the right, a flight of steps, shaped like a fan, leads 
upward to an open balcony from which one passes, through a door, 
into the house. In front of the door a curtain now hangs. The walls 
of the house are covered with rose bushes and vines, and are decorated 
with busts, and with vases at each of the windows, from which vines 
trail down. The house forms the background on the right. 

It is late on a summer's afternoon. Desidkeio, Antonio, Batista nnid 
Paris sit about the steps, on cushions and mats. All are silent. The 
wind sways the curtain in front of the door. After a short time Titia- 
NELLO and GiANiNO enter from the door on the right. Desideeio, An- 
tonio, Batista and Paris hasten anxiously over to them, and look at 
them questiomngly as they crowd around. A short silence. 

Paeis. Not worse? 

GiANiNO {in a subdued voice). 

Ay, very bad. 

{To TiTiANELLo, who bsgins to weep.) 
Poor, dear Pippo! 
Batista. Sleeps lie? 
GiANiNo. Alas, lie is awake and raves, 

Calling for brushes and for paints. 
Antonio. Methinks 

We must refuse him — 
GiANiNO. So the doctor says. 

Yet we'll not cross him, and whate'er he craves 

We'll give him. Think 'st thou not the same, 
dear friend? 
TiTiANELLO {hreaking out passionately). 

Tomorrow, e'en today, must be the end! 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 515 

GiANiNO. He may no longer hide from us, he says — 
Paris. Our dearest Master must not die! Nay, nay! 

The doctors lie ; they know not what they say ! 
Desidbeio. If Titian, who creates this life, should die. 

Whose, then, the right to live beneath the sky? 
Batista. How nearly spent his hfe he cannot know! 
TiTiANBi>L0. In his wild fever he is painting now 

With ghastly, breathless haste on his new work. 
The maids are with him, and must stand; he 

sent 
Us all away. 
Antonio. Has he the strength to work? 
TiTiANELLo. He paints, and with such passion is he rent 
As I've not seen at any other hour — 
As tortured by some strange, mysterious 
power ! 

[A page enters from the right, followed by 
servcmts. All start up anxiously.] 

TiTIANELLO, GlANINO, O/nd PaEIS. 

What is it? 
Page. Nothing; but the Master calls 

For his old paintings, from the garden walls. 
TiTIANELLO. Why wants he them? 

Page. He wishes them, he says. 

' ' The pitiful, pale works of earlier days ! 
I would compare them to this last I paint ! ' ' 
For many things appear to him, he says. 
" Things of great import — a clearer sight — " 
Till now he has but botched, and squandered 

paint. 
Shall we do as he bids? 
TiTIANELLO. (to, go ! Make haste ! 

Ye cause him pain each moment that ye waste ! 
[The servants have passed over the stage; 
the page rejoins them beside the steps. 
TiTIANELLO raises the curtail and softly 
enters the house. The others walk nerv- 
ously to and fro.] 



516 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Antonio {half aloud). 

Unutterably sad is this last hour! 
Our honored Master speechless, reft of power I 
TiTiANELLO {coming back). 

He's quiet now; a radiance, as a saint's, 
Shines through his pallor, as he paints and 

paints 
And from his eye streams forth a hopeful ray. 
He talks to the young maids as is his way. 
Antonio. Come, let us here upon the steps remain, 
Hoping — until the Master's worse again. 
[They settle down on the steps. Titia.nello, 
his eyes half closed, plays with Gianino's 
hair."] 
Batista {half aloud). 

Worse! Then the worst! It cannot be that 

way. 
The worst must come, though no worse come 

before ; 
Then dead and hollow, endless Evermore — 
And yet it seems impossible today, 
Although tomorrow 'twill be so ! 

lA pause.] 
GiANiNo. I'm tired. 

Paris. 'Tis the hot, sultry air by south winds fired. 

TiTiANELLO {laughing softly). 

Poor boy. Throughout the long night's hours 
he watch 'd! 
GiANiNo {leaning on his elbow). 

Ay, friend; the first whole night I've ever 

watch 'd. 
But, yet, how did'st thou know? 
TiTiANELLO. Oh, I could feel. 

First by thy slow-drawn breath ; then, standing 

here. 
Thine eyes toward yonder steps would ever 
steal. 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 517 

GiANiNo. MethougM that through the night, so blue and 

clear, 
That breathed around, a mystic voice I heard, 
For naught in Nature tempted me to sleep; 
With moistened lips, and sighs long-drawn, and 

deep 
She lay, and nothing in the darkness stirred. 
She hushed to hear dim, secret things afar, 
Like pearls of silver dew flashed every star 
Above the peaceful meadows soft and damp. 
The sap flowed in each fruit, and made it swell 
Beneath the yellow moon's great, golden lamp 
In whose pale, mystic light bright gleamed each 

well. 
Afar, strange, heavy harmonies awoke, 
And, where the shadows of the clouds soft glide, 
The tread of naked feet the silence broke — 
Then I awoke, and I was by thy side. 

[He stcmds up as he speaks and bends toward 

TlTIANBLLO.] 

Then through the night a distant music rang 
As though the magic flute with soft notes sang 
Which yonder fawn holds in his marble hands, 
As in the laurel grove, half -hid, he stands. 
Beside the bed of nightshades drenched in dew 
I saw him stand, and bright the marble shone 
Like pale, damp silver in the night's deep blue. 
Where red pomegranate blossoms open blown 
Wave softly, to and fro. The heavy drone 
Of many bees I heard, who sucked the dew 
And honey from the cup of each red flower. 
And fell, o'ercome by its dull, fragrant power. 
Then, as the breath of darkness brushed my 

face, 
With all the garden's air, so dull and sweet, 
It seemed to be that floating through dim space 
A wondrous garment touched me, passing fleet, 



518 



THE GEEMAN CLASSICS 



Like gentle hands, so tender and so warm ! 
Through pallid moon-beams, white as samite 

sheen, 
A myriad amorous gnats danced in a swarm. 
A glistening light lay on the lake serene 
That floated rippling in the placid night. 
Whether 'twas swans I saw, I cannot say, 
Or snowy limbs of bathing nymphs at play — 
Then fragrance as of women's golden hair 
Was mingled with the scent of aloes' flowers, 
Until all faded, tingling, through the air 
In languorous splendor, deadening all my 

powers. 
And thoughts were numb, and words grew 

meaningless. 

Aktonio. I envy thee, who 'st known such wondrous bliss, 

And in the darkness dreamest dreams like this ! 

GiANiNo. Half dreaming, and half waking, thus I passed 

To yonder spot, where one may see the town, 

That rests, soft whisp'ring, in its flashing 

gown. 
That moon and water round its sleep had cast. 
Its slumberous murmurs oft the night wind 

brought 
With ghostly, distant sounds, in echoes dying. 
Where strange, appealing fear oppressed each 

thought. 
Oft heard I it, no meaning sign descrying; 
But now I felt its sudden thrill: methought 
That through the magic silence, still as stone, 
. From mystic Night's blue flood-gates upward 

thro\yn, 
I felt the bacchanalian dance of blood 
Eush through its veins; and dazzling phos- 

ph'rous lights 
Flashed round its roofs ; in which reflected flood 
There shone the image of strange, secret things ! 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 519 

Dim giddiness o'ercame me, as I stood. 
The old town slept — intoxication brings 
A soothing of all pain, of grief and strife, 
And Life awakes — almighty, seething Life! 

{A pause.] 
Yet, having it, we may forget 'tis ours ! 

[He pauses a moment.] 
'Tis thus has come this weariness, I ween, 
For in one night too much I've felt and seen. 
Desidekio (standing by the balustrade to Gianino). 
See'st thou the city as it rests below. 
Veiled in the golden sunset's fragrant glow, 
Where rosy safrans, and pale shades of gray 
About its feet, with deep blue shadows play 
To weave a cloak of dew-drenched purity. 
Alluring in its calm serenity? 
Alas ! in yonder mystic haze there lies 
A world of ugliness and moral blight, 
Where madmen live like swine in filthy sties! 
But distance has concealed from thy sight 
This place of loathing, hollow in its shame, 
Yet thronged with men by Beauty quite 

unstirred — 
Though using words which from us they have 

learned. 
But only similarity of name > 

Exists between their joy and grief and ours. 
For, though we slumber deep in midnight hours, 
Our very slumber differs from their sleep : 
Full, purple blossoms in our sleep we see, 
And serpents that on gilded evils creep; 
And there a mountain, rising from the sea. 
Wherein a thousand giants' forges gleam! 
But they, they sleep and dream as oysters 

dream ! 
Antonio (half rising). 

Therefore tall, slender palings stand about 



520 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

The garden that the Master planted here, 
Through which sweet, flowering vines trail in 

and out 
That one may feel the world — not see, nor 
hear. 
Paeis {rising). 

This is the lore of alleys without end . . . 
Batista (rising). 

The wonder of, the background's sombre depth, 
The secret art uncertain lights to lend . . . 
TiTiANELto (with eyes closed). 

The half lost sweetness of a distant note. 
The beauty of the words some poet wrote 
In ages passed . . . ! This lesson we should 

learn 
From all we cannot see, but yet discern ! 
Pabis. And therein lies the magic of the Past, 

And boundless Beauty's never-parched 

well . . . 
Art's great soul stifles there where voices 
dwell! 
lAll remain silent for a time; Titianello, 
weeps quietly.'] 
Gianino {soothingly). 

Thou should 'st not in such meditation sink. 
Nor ceaselessly of this one matter think! 
Titianello {laughing sadly). 

As if our pain were aught besides this strength 
And power that makes us ponder endlessly, 
Until all meaning vanishes at length . . . ! 
I pray thee, let me ponder aimlessly, 
For long ago from fleeting Joy and Woe 
Their many-colored cloaks I've torn asunder, 
'Twas my simplicity clothed them with wonder; 
And simple thinking I no longer know ! 

[A silence. Gianino has sunk down on his 
side along the steps and, resting his head 
on his arms, has fallen asleep. ] 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 521 

t 

Paris. Where can Giocondo be? 

TiTiANELLo. Long before light 

He slipped out through the door ere ye awoke ; 
On his pale brow the kiss of Love's delight, 
While his thin lips of jealous Passion spoke. 
\_Pages carry two paintings across the stage, 
— that of " Venus with the Flowers," and 
the great " Bacchanalia." The pupils rise, 
and, while the paintings are carried past, 
stand with heads bowed, holding their caps 
in their hands. A moment of silence.] 
Desideeio. Who lives when he is gone, Master of Art, 
A conqueror of matter, great of heart, 
Yet, like a child, wise in simplicity'? 
Antonio. Who doth not trust his word implicitly? 
Batista. Or tremble at his knowledge infinite? 
Pabis. Who now shall judge us masters of our art? 

TiTiANELLO. He filled with life the sombre, lifeless grove, 
And, where the yellow waters silent slept, 
And clambering ivy round the beeches crept, 
A host of gods from nothingness he wove ; 
While satyrs raised their sounding horns on 

high. 
Till yearning grew, and earthly happiness. 
And every shepherd sought his shepherd- 
ess . . . ! 
Batista. And to the clouds that float across the sky. 
In idle reveries, a soul he gave; 
And in the pale expanse of fihny white, 
Meaning he found, and yearning in each wave, 
In every sombre mass, rimmed with gold light, 
In soft gray mountains that go roUing by. 
All rose and silver through the evening sky; 
Each has the soul which to each one he gave ! 
From naked cliffs, gray, desolate, forlorn; 
From each dark-green, foam-crested, roaring 
wave; 



522 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

From dreams that in black, lifeless woods are 

born; 
E'en from the sorrow of each blasted oak 
Through, his great art some human soul 

awoke — 
Something of Life that made us understand, 
And know the Soul of Night where 'er it spoke ! 

Paris. We were aroused from darkness by his hand; 

'Twas he that filled us with the golden light. 
And taught us to enjoy the passing hours 
As though they were a pageant of delight; 
The hidden beauty and the shape of flowers, 
Of women, and of rolling waves to see! 
Above all else our own life to behold; 
To grasp the flash of jewels, silk, and gold; 
To understand what each man looks to see — 
As lofty bridges, or Spring's early gleam — 
Or yet the dreams we dream in sleeping hours 
Of light-haired nymphs beside a crystal stream. 
And what is round us in our waking hours 
Nought of its mystic beauty had received 
Till in his wondrous soul it was conceived! 

Antonio. What dancing for fair, graceful bodies is ; 

What torch-light for the joyous masquerade; 
What music for the soul that sleeping lies, 
Soothing it by its rhythmic harmonies ; 
Or what a mirror to a fair, young maid ; 
What to the flowers the sun's bright, warming 

light — 
An eye, a medium suited to the end — 
Wherein all beauty saw herself aright! 
This nature found in his great spirit's height! 
' ' Arouse us ; make of us a Bacchanal ! ' ' 
Cry all the living, that before him bend. 
And quail before his eye, and prostrate fall! 
{While Antonio is speaking the three girls 
have stepped silently from the door and 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 523 

stand listening. Only Titianello, who has 
been standing absent-mindedly , and a lit- 
tle to one side, without taking any part im 
the conversation, seems to notice them. 
Lavinia's blond hair is inclosed in a 
golden head-net; she wears the rich cos- 
tume of a Venetian Patrician. Cassandra 
and Lisa, young girls of nineteen and 
seventeen, wear simple white dresses made 
of soft, clinging material; they have gold 
arm-bands shaped like snakes on their bare 
arms above the elbow; sandals and gold 
belts. Cassandba's hair is light blond, and 
Lisa wears a yellow rose-bud in her dark 
hair. There is something about her which 
resembles a boy, just as Gianino reminds 
one of a girl. Behind them a page enters, 
bearing a wine pitcher and cups of chased 
silver.] 
Antonio. To us those distant trees how wondrous fair, 

All waving in the dreamy twilight air! 
Pabis. What beauty we can find in yon blue bay 

Where white-winged ships smooth gliding sail 
away! 
[Titianello, to the maidens whom he has 
greeted with a slight inclination of the 
head. All the others turn.] 
Titianello. How we admire the lustre of your hair. 

The fragrance it exhales through all the air! 
The ivory whiteness of each pure-shaped limb, 
The golden girdle that surrounds your form 
We feel, as we feel music, deep and warm. 
Because our understanding came from him! 

(Bitterly.) 
Yet they'll ne'er understand it there below! 
Desideeio (to the maidens). 

Is he alone? Shall we not go to him? 



524 THE GERMAN CLASSICS 

Lavinia. He wishes no one, friends, so none need go. 
TiTiANELLO. Could Death in this great silence but unfold 
His wings above him in the sunset's glow, 
'Mid this wild beauty, strange, divine! 
[All are silent. Gianino has awaited, and, 
durmg the last words, has risen to his feet. 
He is very pale, and looks anxiously from 
one to the other.] 
\_All are silent. Gianino takes a step toward 
TiTiANELLo; then stops, shuddering. Sud- 
denly he throws himself at Lavinia's feet, 
— who is standing a little in front of the 
others, — and presses his face against her 
knees.} 
Gianino (slowly). 

Death ! Death, Lavinia ! Horror seizes me ! 
I've never stood so close to Death before! 
I never shall forget that we must die. 
And I shall stand aloof with gloomy stare. 
Where others laugh aloud, and silently, 
Forevermore, shall think that we must die! 
For once I saw how men went singing past. 
And led with them a man condemned to death ; 
He staggered by, and saw about him stand 
A host of living men, and trees that swayed, 
And heard the wind that whispered in their 

boughs ! 
And we, Lavinia, we too go that road! 
I slept, Lavinia, but a little space 
There on the steps, and yet, when I awoke 
The first word that mine ear perceived was 
"Death!" [He shudders.] 

An awful darkness settles on the world! 
[Lavinia stands erect, her eyes fixed on the 
clear and brilliamt sky. She strokes Gian- 
iNo's head.'] 



THE DEATH OF TITIAN 525 

Lavinia. I see no darkness, but a butterfly 

Unfolding brilliant wings ; yonder a star 
Begins to shine on high, while there, within, 
An old, old man goes to his peaceful rest! 
'Tis not the last step brings our weariness. 
But rather makes us feel it . . . 

[While she is speaking with her hack to the 
door of the house an unseen hand has 
drawn the curtain aside, silently, but vio- 
lently. All hurry up the steps in breath- 
less silence and, Titianello leading the 
way, enter the house.] 
Lavinia {speaks on with growing emotion). 

Greet this life! 
Hail, hail to him who, caught in Life 's great net 
Breathes deep, nor meditates upon his lot, 
Abandoning himself to that great stream 
Which bears him to the further shore . . . 
[She stops suddenly, and looks around; real- 
ising what has occurred, she turns, and 
follows the others.] 
GiANiNO {stUl kneeling, and shuddering [his voice is 
muffled].) 'Tis done! 

[He rises and follows the others. The cur- 
tain falls.] 



ON MUTABILITY* 

(feerman I TILL, still upoii my cheek I feel their breath: 
How can it be that days which seem so near 
Are gone, forever gone, and lost in death? 




This is a thing that none may fully grasp, 
A thing too dreadful for the trivial tear : 
That all things glide away from out our clasp; 

And that this I, unchecked by years, has come 

Across into me from a little child 

Like some uncanny creature strangely dumb: — 

That I existed centuries past — somewhere, 
That ancestors on whom the earth is piled 
Are yet a part of me like my own hair. 

INTERDEPENDENCE * 

Many men no doubt must die below-decks 
Where the heavy oars of the ship are plying; 
Others dwell above beside the tiller 
Know the flight of birds and the lore of star-lands. 

Many with weighted limbs must lie forever 
At the roots of the labyrinthine life-tree ; 
Others have their place appointed 
With the sibyls, the queens of vision, 
Where they bide as in seats accustomed, 
Head untroubled and hand unburdened. 

Yet from yonder lives a shadow falleth 
On the happier lives of the others. 
And the light unto the heavy 
As to air and earth are fettered: 



* TrajuaJator: CSharles Wharton Stork. 

[526] 



HOFMANNSTHAL: POEMS 527 

Prom the weariness of forgotten peoples 
Vainly would I liberate mine eyelids, 
Or would keep my startled soul at distance 
From ihe sUent fall of far-off planets. 

Many fates with mine are interwoven, 
Subtly mingled flow the threads of being, 
And my share in it is more than merely 
One life's narrow flame or thin-toned lyre. 

TRAVEL SONG * 

Mad the torrent foams below us. 
From the crags the boulders leap, 
Eagles, threatening to o 'erthrow us, 
Down the ravine boldly sweep. 

But before us lies a land 
Where the ripened fruits reflected 
In the tranquil waters glow. 
Marble fount and statue stand 
Deep in groves of bloom protected, 
And the gentle breezes blow. 



* Translator: 'Charleo Wharton Stork.